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Monday, April 5, 2010

On People, Profession and Ambition

This post is dedicated to talking about who we are and what we actually wanted to be.

Let me give you an example by making up a dialogue:
A: Hey dude, whats up? What are you doing nowadays?
B: Hey man, am good. Am an engineer now. Computer Engineer.

A: Engineer? You? but you were never interested in engineering. I thought you wanted to be a writer. You bookworm, you were always roaming about with a book and pen in hand. How did you land in engineering?
B: yeah dude, I still wana be a writer. I have started on a story but cant get time enough because of all the stupid work. My parents forced me to an engineer or a doctor. So i took the lesser evil. I have no interest in engineering. What are you doing nowadays?

A: Me, I was always interested in travelling and writing a travelogue. So thats what I do now. I roam the world, make documentaries, write reviews, books on traveling and so on. It doesnt pay much but hell, I love every second of it.
B: Thats great man. I am glad that you are doing what you like. I dont like being an engineer. But what can I do?

A: Quit your job and start writing, you know what they say, when you do what you want to do, you never work one moment of your life.
B: Easy to say, harder to do.
Right from childhood, we kids have a lot of ambition. Our parents too have ambitions for us. Most of ours are usually what we can term as "fantasy".
We watch a movie or see a cartoon and we want to be like the protagonist or the evil genius in them.
You watch Pokeman and you wish you had those powers.
You watch Superman and you wish you could fly.
You play with GI Joe's and you wish you would become a military like them.
You watch Dexter and you wish you could be a scientist.
You watch Jurassic Park and you wish you can be an archaeologist.
and the list goes on....

But right in the middle of these "fantasies" there comes a time when an idea to become something really sticks to your mind. An eternal thirst to become that something and do all that is necessary for achieving it. All other "fantasies" take a backseat when compared to this one. All all we can think about is being what we want. This is what I call ambition.

However, like us, our elders also have ambitions for us. Mostly, they are ambitions that would give us a good life(monetary wise, status wise) or some unfulfilled ambitions of our elders. If our parents couldn't be an engineer or were not very well educated, they would like us to become a scientist or a doctor or an engineer. But never a writer, a sportsman, an artist or some others in the same category. So then a point comes when we need to choose between what we want and what our parents want and our decision has a life-changing impact.

Should we do what we want to, or should we do what our parents want to?
On one hand is our happiness and on the other is our parents.

Then too, many parents dont give their kids a choice of what they want. They dictate it to them. They tell them to become this and the kid has to become that. Where is the freedom then? The parent is a successful merchant or a shopowner, he would expect his kids to be a shopowner. For them, "if its good enough for us, it would be good enough for them too." I am not saying they do it with any malicious intent, it's just that in trying to give a better life to their kids, they end up taking their freedom and crushing their ambitions.

So what if one profession doesn't pay as much as the other. Does it mean that we should decide our profession based on monetary gain alone? Money plays some part in the decision, but the bigger thing to look for is how much happiness, satisfaction and enjoyment it gives to you. After all, its your life, your happiness, your decision. You have to live with that decision for the rest of your life.

Choosing a profession is the first major decision we need to take as a responsible human. And most of the time we end up taking the wrong one. Most of the time there is a wide gap between what we are and what we wanted to be. You are spoiled for choices of profession in the current one. There is surely a profession out there which you will realize is tailored for you, which is exactly what you want, a shoe that you can fill properly.

Then why is it that in some countries( especially India) people refuse to see any profession other than 1) Engineer 2) Doctor 3) IAS 4) MBA as nothing but a passing fantasy of their kids. In the generation gap between ours and our parents, a lot has changed when it comes to professions. The world now has many more writers, philosophers, artists even gamers who have made a life out of their passion and done it with panache. Why should we lag behind, why should we be forced to choose from the ancient choices, as mature as well paying as they be? It is our right, no, our prerogative to be allowed to choose what to do with our life.

It is time to be true to ourselves and make our ambition and profession the same. Its time to be the Superman, Dexter or the Elven Magi that we always wanted to be.