Strength + Interest = Magic
Explore the area which interests you the most and profit from it. Sounds easy? Perhaps it really is.
“Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. 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. Don’t settle [for less]. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”
This column comes from a very interesting conversation I was having with my family. My cousin had just got his results for his 10th standard exams. For most students (and more over for parents), how they fare in this exam, and what they choose to do subsequently is considered life altering. This move is considered to be the biggest decision of their life. But does what you choose when you are 15 years old really have such a big bearing on your life as a professional?
Some kids are absolutely clear on what they ‘think’ they want to do. They ‘think’ they want to become Doctors. Or they ‘think’ they want to be Engineers. More often than not they know absolutely nothing about what these things entail. But due to certain influences they have had while growing up, they form opinions in their head on what they need to pursue.
For any professional, the most important thing is to match his strengths with his interests while choosing a profession. If you can do the same, you usually end up excelling in your professional lives. You end up doing a good job and living a happier life.
This may not be true with everyone. Actually nothing on earth holds true for everyone. A lot of people don’t really care about this whole ‘strength and interest’ thing. They need a pay cheque. The fatter the pay cheque, the better it is. They would rather be thrilled on the 1st of every month (when the salary reflects in the bank account), than be thrilled with work every day. That is a great way to look at life too if it makes one happy. I have met so many people who totally separate their work and their life. For them, work is something they do to pay the bills. It does not matter what it is.
But to create something special on the work front, to make an I-pod or a revolutionary product like Windows Microsoft or to build a company as large and as fast as Dhirubhai did, it’s important to match your strengths with your interests.
So what is a person’s strength? To loosely define the phenomenon - it’s the one thing that comes to a person naturally. It’s a gift of God [genes actually]. Something that you are born with. To M F Hussain, painting is something that comes naturally. To Sachin Tendulkar, batting comes naturally. Now both these professionals practiced a good lot to master their skills, but they had some natural fluency in it already. From the time MF Hussain picked up the paintbrush, he could paint better than most people his age.
An ‘interest’ on the other hand is something you feel passionately about. Something that you love doing. Something that engrosses you totally where hours just seem to fly.
So how does this whole thing come together? Well, Cricket is an interest for me. But I don’t think I’m an exceptionally gifted player. I could tonk a few (tennis) balls being bowled by my fellow mediocre cricketer friends but playing cricket is not a real strength of mine. On the other side business and personal development are areas of interest to me and public speaking is a strength. That’s the reason I started Work Better Training and I work as a Corporate Training Consultant. Something that mixes my interests and strengths. And if you would like to know, I thoroughly enjoy it and do a relatively good job from what our clients tell us.
So, whether you are a student or a young professional, think deeply about what your Strengths and Interests are. Trust me, it’s never too late to change course. You spend the bulk of your adult life working and from what I know, you live only once. Do something that will bring the best out of you. So go, find your thing and try to excel at it