Keep Looking. Don't Settle.

April 15, 2012

I'm going to spare you the usual dosage of 'sorry I haven't been active lately' and get straight to the point.

I've been reading a bit too many college Commencement speeches lately (especially since I became a big fan of Steve's; also check out this and this) and there's certainly commonalities amongst them. The most common messages that these successful and 'great' people have tried to pass on is: Dare to dream and be crazy enough to chase it. It certainly is the only way to happiness. Find something you love to do, and have fun doing it. Create new things. Give back to the world. Enjoy the journey. Family and friends are the most important parts of life. Fall in Love.

It makes me think. Most people around us are not living their lives on these principles. Which also explains why they are 'normal' and not SRK.

I was having this discussion with my colleagues the other day (being one of my favorite things to talk about, I probably have spent half of my last 1000 talking-hours discussing Life) where someone started with how lucky Army people are, living their suave lives and enjoying it. How they get to travel the country, and the World in some cases on official trips. How they get respected and have a different class of life compared to most civilians. When I brought up the 'grass being greener on the other side' argument, 'there's always lack of time in our current field of work' was thrust into my face, to which, honestly I didn't have a major counter-point. But I remember reading somewhere that the CEO of Yahoo! India (current or one of the past ones) spends weekends DJ-ing. This point was shot down with the logic that he's the CEO and can do whatever the heck he wants to. I think it can't be farther from the truth. For one thing, the higher you go in the chain of command, your responsibilities also increase (I guess linearly, if not exponentially). And also, if that guy is DJ-ing as the CEO, I'm sure he would have taken time out to continue devoting time to this hobby of his when he was NOT the CEO.

My first click on Instagram

Instagram is the hottest company in town as of now, because of the very recent Facebook acquisition. While reading the Instagram story, I remember reading that the founder of Instagram did not know how to code, he was a marketing guy. He learned to code while moonlighting along with his day work. (Oh, and his girlfriend learned to code too. It's a sweet story)

The point I'm trying to make here is, its not easy in most cases. Most people have pursued what they wanted to do even when they didn't have the time, energy or resources to. It reminds me of an great scene from a legendary movie by one of the most inspiring people:

(find the text for this scene here)

J K Rowling wrote initial books of Harry Potter over 6 tough years filled with loss of family members, divorce and financial difficulties only to end up being rejected by 12 publishers till Bloomsbury said a 'Yes' and the rest, as they say, has touched the lives of millions of people (including your's truly).

Here's Rowling's Harvard Commencement Address:

Failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy to finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one area where I truly belonged. I was set free, because my greatest fear had been realized, and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter, and a big idea. And so rock bottom became a solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.

I adore the part where she says she succeeded at what she loved because she failed at everything else.

As Steve said:

You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle.

I'm the wrong guy to be giving an advice on success or what should you be doing with your life. But there is one thing I know. I enjoy what I do. I'm excited about my work. I know its neither Rocket Science nor is it saving people's lives. But hey, it gets me excited! I'm in love with it. And I think that is what really matters. Having fun, while creating something beautiful and useful for people. That is what I've wanted to do. And I'm lovin' it ;-)

What do you love doing?