My first real career talk was given by late Mr S.A Olarinde, my principal in FGC Ogbomoso back in 98. He had a very strong intimidating build, one of the most charismatic men I’ve met. We had just concluded our JSC Examinations and about to go to SS1, the JS-SS bridge that ‘determines’ futures. He said a lot that day but the only thing that has stuck is “it is better to be a happy post man rather than a bank manager with constant high blood pressure” This seeking of bliss will be a recurring mantra that I would come across digging through ideologies and philosophies over the years. The meanings will present themselves in different hues but always boil down to follow that thing which gives you joy, purpose and meaning.
Passion I believe is an oversold, overrated, misconstrued term. A lot of these tele-marketers, motivational writers, gurus, pastors and social media influencers have hijacked the term, overbeating the form while discarding the essence. At the core, following your passion will imply staying true to your innermost calling and area of strength, doing what makes you happy, to remain in your gift zone and apply yourself in a field where work feels effortless. While this is a beautiful ideal, some standards must be applied to substantiate the value of one’s passion.
Following a conviction or a statement of personal truth requires daily grinds and hustle. We overlook the need for a community and structure when we intend to pursue a desire or a new path. If we do a little research, every single human who became a person of note went through a system of mentors, communities and gradual education. From Christ to Muhammad, to Aristotle to Gandhi, to Da Vinci to Spielberg. Any achievement in any field requires you to subject yourself to a process. Without the process all seeming success and achievements will be shallow and eventually result in self sabotage.
No matter your ambition, as an adult you must take responsibility for yourself. A lot of passions and interest cannot feed the “passionates”, or put in another way, some passions take time to mature into products or experiences that can serve as channels of income. In the world we live in, you need money to be human. Bills upon bills: house rents, daily meals, baby diapers, transportation, simple luxuries like tickets to the cinema and gifts for your folks on their birthdays. A good mentor will advise you on when it is time to quit a regular job and go for it, design a system for you as a dancer to dance in mainstream musical videos for a while and do your real art at night in select clubs till your stuff is ripe and the world is ready for it. We see couples in sectors like arts where the either partner pursues dreams while the other is on a salaried job to maintain the family.
There is a method and science to following ones passion; it is not just excitement and jumping around. This is the reason why many promising entrepreneurs burn out. They thrive on adrenaline and motivational preaching and literature instead of being part of a sound system. No matter what you do, it is a painful process, it is like falling in love, your lover gives you pain but she is the only one you can return to because only she can give you joy.
By following your passion you will discover the process is home, success only makes you hungrier to do more. If you are real, you will learn money, influence or status are not the true rewards but the opportunity to rise every day and grind.
Cover Picture By Olumide Adeleye