Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Where does your passion lies?

Quite interestingly, more people likes to talk to me, ever since I started to set up my own company. Maybe to some people, I am quite a rare breed because I gave up a decent and stable job to pursue my dreams and passions. Maybe to them, I am doing something that they had long wanted to do but do not dare to take that first step. Thus, it would be intriguing for them to watch closely how I fared, or failed.

One interesting thing I noticed when speaking to people who wanted to startup their own company is that, they rarely talk about their passion, let alone their vision. Most just wanted to be a boss. Any kind of business, as long as they are the boss. To them, becoming a boss is merely a way of breaking the salary ceiling to achieve financial freedom. Just a means to an end. The means doesn’t matter much, at least not as much as the ends, that is, achieving financial freedom.

The same goes for some existing business owners, and venture capitalists. I once had a chat with a business associate. I told him about the financial strains during my early days of startup, and how I believed that having passion in what you do is important to an entrepreneur. He didn’t quite agree with me, as he himself didn’t have any passion in the businesses that he involved, except for the passion towards earning more money.

What exactly is passion, one might ask? Just imagine you strike a lottery one day, or inherited a large sum of money from some distant relative. You have the money to buy everything you desired, to tour around the world, and still have enough money left to support you and your family up to two hundred years old. What would you do next?

If you are a software developer, would you continue to write software? Or would you uninstall every single compiler and IDE on your computer?

If you are a writer, would you continue to write your novels? Or would you just stop writing because writing is just a tool for earning money?

If you are a chef, would you continue to explore new flavours or methods of cooking? Or would you stop cooking because cooking is never your passion?

In an ideal world, people would pursue their passion and earn their keep while fulfilling their potential. In a pragmatic world, people earn their keep while doing something that is probably neither their passion, nor fulfilling to them, so that they can pursue their passion after work, or after they retired, or never.

Think about your passion. Think about what you really want to do.