Discovering your passion

discover-passion alok kumar
Most of the students and professionals I speak to in my talk sessions do not know what is their passion. My question to them always is “Who do you aspire to be in life?”
Almost every time the answers come with several possibilities. Some feel that they want to be a CEO, Architect, someone having a lot of money and so on.
Very few come with the right answer “They want to be happy in life”.
Unfortunately most of us think and identify ourselves with the job we do and the profession we are in. Our public standing, money we have and the problems we land up in circles around the eight hours we spend five days a week on our jobs. For some it might be more, but very few may know that actual working time we spend in our whole life may not exceed 10% of our total life.


“Finding passion is not easy unless you are ready to give time to the thought “


Just imagine, we ignore the remaining 90 percent for the better and most productive part of our life, just because we forgot to set our priorities and struggle to find “a job” instead of landing up in a “dream job”. This is true that this ten percent of our life has a major play in determining the happiness of the remaining ninety percent, but do we really plan this ten percent well?
While attending a campus selection in a premium management institute, I was painfully surprised to realize that the students faked their interests based on the financial gains and the brand of the company they appeared for in their interviews. What I could see clearly was the fact that the aspiration of the students was all about being part of something, which gave them money and social standing. Unfortunately the college too has their reporting parameters, which only projected how many students placed with how much salary. The college placement officer showed me with glee and pride pointing out how the MNC company has offered job directly in US to some of their students and they will be given more than one crore (Indian rupee equivalent Salary converted from USD) compensation.

I was able to spot a lone guy, who interviewed me instead. He asked me clearly “What will be the work he will do and how he dreamt to create easy accessibility of free and low cost education amongst the underprivileged in India. When I asked him on the business model and how he would make money out of it. The young man put me to shame with his forward thinking. The business model he put was so attractive that I realized soon that he is in for really making a difference. The best part was that he was passionate and he did not get a job in the placement rounds. Unfortunately, for the rest of the crowd, he was insane, but in reality, he was the only person who was years ahead of the rest. I am sure he would have found a way like Salman Khan of Khan Academy and would do something different.
Finding passion is not easy unless you are ready to give time to the thought. It is not right to say that someone was born with the talent. The talent is always grown with time by putting time and effort and we start finding interest and subsequently develop passion as we start getting results. It is always a journey.
Secondly, life and profession is not about a single passion but several of them, which will make up your life an interesting thing. Matching most of the passions to a single profession is something with will give you a dream job.
In one of the lectures of the great Badminton player, Gopichand who is based out of Hyderabad and runs a badminton academy producing the best talents in this game for the country. Gopichand himself has been world champion and had done India proud. As per him, his father wanted him to follow the footsteps of his elder brother who passed from IIT Chennai and is working in US in a big firm. For Gopi, his passion was to play badminton and take that as a profession. Those times it was unusual for someone to say that sports can be taken as a profession. Gopi was made to appear for his exams but he could not clear. Laughing out he recalls, “Had I passed my tests, I would have been a bad and unhappy engineer, but today I am one of a lucky few who earn by doing something we love the most in our lives”.
I have seen many such people who have moved in the profession leaving everything they did earlier because of their passion and doing very well. Most important of the part is that, this profession has given them happiness in the 90% of the time they do not work in their lives. Some worthwhile mention I wanted to put up has been a gym instructor who left IT job to become a health consultant. Recalling few more, an IT professional who became yoga teacher and a doctor who became a jewelry designer are few such examples who should make you think differently.
For those, who are already working in some job but not enjoying, please look deeper, there will be some more opportunities, which you can attempt by working out of box and out of your own free will. Change the job if it does not allow you that freedom, but if you choose to hang on, forget about your dream job anyway.

Finding your passion therefore needs your true effort and dedication in whatever you feel is something you can do well and that resonates well with your dreams and personality. When you slog out in one area, you will soon realize if that area is truly your passion or you need to alter that. Remember, times have changed and now you can have a job or create something of your own with comparative ease than what was possible earlier and yet make decent money. You make have resistance from your family, but remember, you have the first responsibility towards yourself and when you are happy, you give happiness to others.

Have something to add? Share it in the comments.

Picture Credits : Syewells, For representational purposes only

By Alok Kumar

Alok Kumar

Alok Kumar is Managing Partner of SRKay Consulting group, a private equity company, nurturing innovative ventures. Alok also serves on the board of ICCL (Indian Clearing Corporation Limited - A subsidiary of BSE- Bombay Stock Exchange) as an external advisor for technology and information security. Prior to this, Alok had been Managing Director of Sears IT & Management Services India Private Limited (SHI) since its inception in December 2009 and served in the same position till very recently. Having been in senior IT management positions in Fortune 500 companies, Alok has won several national and international awards. Alok is instrumental in planning and setting up SHI and thereafter growing it to a multi-locational thousand-plus people organization. Over the last five years, with his strategic vision, Alok helped SHI grow roots in India, develop and support technology applications and infrastructure across core mainframe, cutting edge e-Commerce and big data technologies. With his unique people-oriented transformational leadership style, Alok turned SHI into one of the most valued investments of Sears, garnering great ROIs, and creating value much beyond cost arbitrage. Under his tutelage, SHI has filed two patents and is recognized widely for its best practices in various areas, the latter, currently featured in Indian Institute of Management (IIM) case studies. SHI also became a CMMI Level 3, PCMM Level 3, and ISO 20000 certified organization. Alok is a widely acclaimed corporate leader in India today. He regularly participates and leads various forums as a keynote speaker and is an author of several books in different genres. Alok has several awards to his credit. He is particularly known in the industry for his people management skills and innovative ideas in improving the productivity of employees through unique people practices. He has been credited with the following industry awards: ¬ Emerging Leader of the Year award 2013 by IndiasGreatest.com ¬ Game Changer CEO of the Year 2013 (SHRM) ¬ CIO 100 - The Bold CIOs - 2008 (Reliance Infosolutions) ¬ CIO - Ones to Watch Award 2008 (Reliance Industries) ¬ Extended Manager Award - CIOL 2004 (Tata Teleservices) As an able leader of SHI, Alok got SHI recognized widely in the industry with the following several awards: ¬ CII Award for HR Best Practices in 2014 ¬ Global Excellence in Outsourcing Award - AIOP (Phoenix 2013) ¬ IT Innovation Award (Design & Engineering) - Computer Society of India 2012 ¬ Golden Company of the Year - Economic Times 2011-12 ¬ 7th Employer Branding Awards - World HRD Congress (Mumbai, India) 2013: • ‘Asia’s Best Employer’ Award • ‘Best HR Strategy’ in line with business • HR Leadership Award • Talent Management Award by Bloomberg TV India ¬ Employer Branding Awards - World HRD Congress (Singapore, Asia) 2013: • 7th rank in ‘Asia’s Best Employer’ award • Award for ‘Best HR Strategy’ in line with the business • HR Leadership Award Other recognitions: Alok had served on the distinguished panel of NASSCOM's GIC (Global In-house Centers) National Council members. The council members play a key role in major initiatives of the industry and include the torch bearers of IT industry as panel members. Books and Papers: Alok is an established author, with three books to his credit. Alok’s third and latest book, a novel, “The Spy from Unaula” is a 2015 publication. A handwriting analysis enthusiast, Alok collaborated with his wife Nandani on the book, “Handwriting Speaks” in 2006. “Value Sourcing – Future of IT Outsourcing” was co-authored with Keith Sherwell (currently CIO, Altice USA) and was released in 2013. Alok also researched and published two whitepapers: a. “Creating next generation captives” talks about the best practices that are helping generate higher value from the IT company captives.

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5 Responses

  1. Kaustubh Subhash Joshi says:

    Excellent article by one of the FINEST ORATOR which I’ve seen so far in my life. But I don’t agree with the opinion that “It is not right to say that someone was born with the talent.” . IMHO, people do born with the talent .It could be 0.1 to 100% but it’s always there. To make tangible sell able product is all about putting the efforts and it’s journey ….

  2. Santosh Panicker says:

    Thought provoking article..

  3. Sagar Jangle says:

    Very good article Alok. I was part of Sears earlier and now in some other IT company. I was always excited about your article and even in sessions taken by you in Sears. It is exactly the same reason why I changed from Sears to live my dream work and role.
    Do keep writing.

  4. Piyush Palod says:

    Very Nice article. Thanks for sharing it. it’s worth reading .

  5. Sriraman says:

    most passions start with a hobby. So it is absolutely essential to start cultivating a hobby at a young age that can be transformed into a career later in life. Every success starts with a dream. To fulfill it requires tremendous willpower, risk and freedom from the comfort zone. Combined with the right encouragement and a positive frame of mind, one can do wonders.

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