Passion lost, Passion Regained
PASSION is fickle. Like wealth and luck, it does not linger. It is a racehorse that loses momentum after the first lap. The start is always beautiful and energetic, but with time, the unyielding dirt track gets to it. The gallop slows to a trot and the drumming of hooves dwindles in decibel.
The twenty-first century has retained many of the ills of the twentieth, one of them being the niggling need to do something better with life. It has created a generation of people who believe in abstract things like find their calling and listening to the exhortations of their inscrutable souls. People no longer talk about making money and settling down. They want to do something rather funny with their lives. They actually want to live it.
So you have people who go into fashion design or advertising with stars in their eyes and hopes in their hearts. Many of them don't last more than two years. They are the lucky ones. There are those who, five years down the line, decide that this isn't quite their cup of tea, and nimbly hop into another career avenue. Even they could be considered lucky. There are others that, fifteen years into their profession, discover what a horrible mistake they made fifteen years ago. This is the truly twisted lot. They find themselves trapped in purgatory. They could either choose to ignore that little worm of discontent gnawing away at their innards and find escape in a life of drudgery. Or they could realise the hopelessness of it all and turn into wrecks.
Neither option is enticing. The good news is neither option is necessary. There is a third alternative: to reach into the past and retrieve that elixir of youth that beckoned them to fashion designing or advertising in the first place. The great thing about passion is you can get it back. It may have trickled your fingers but you only need to cup your hands beneath its waterfall to find it again.
Five steps to zing your career:
a. Take a break: Not a two-month vacation. Just a break long enough for you to expunge the stains that the years have left on you. Wears and tears are an inevitable occupational hazard of occupation. It takes some time to get rid of all that junk that has accumulated in your head over a period of time.
b. Review: Indulge in introspection. Think about what you have done so far. List all the mistakes life has led you to make and what you have learned from them. Pledge not to make them again.
c. Focus: Clear your desk and mind (this should be easy) of all extraneous stuff. Focus on your work. Think about the aspects of your work that you like best and concentrate on them. Try to regain the optimism that bore you through your initial years.
d. Experiment: Few things are as permanent as change. You may still have to do the same things but you don't have to do them the same way. You could do them differently. It could work wonders in spicing things up.
e. Make a plan and act on it: You have now wiped your slate clean. You are starting afresh, if not in action, at least in mind. Set short-term goals and formulate a strategy. And then act on it.
And finally, some trivia: All thoroughbred horses slow down after running a quarter-mile. But in 1972, a horse named Secretariat provided the exception to that rule. He actually ran faster with each succeeding fraction after the first quarter-mile. His freakish record was due to the fact that he had a heart larger than the average racehorse.
The average thoroughbred racehorse's heart is 8.5 pounds. After his death, Secretariat's heart was found to weigh 22 pounds. That is probably the secret to wining long races. It has been often said that success is 25 per cent hard work and 75 per cent heart.
The bigger your heart the better your chances are of sustaining momentum through stretching distances. And even if you have faltered in the middle, don't worry, there is such a thing called a second wind.
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