Follow your heart (published in Republica)

During my recent conversation with Kiran Joshi, the Co-founder/CEO of Incessant Rain Animation Studios, he talked about the importance of following your passion. Kiran Joshi stressed that one should do what one loves, and passion is necessary in order to overcome the early struggles of doing something innovative. I could not agree with him more.

Why is passion so important? I believe pursuing your passion is key to personal and professional growth, and ultimately, happiness. Discovering what you love to do and then pursuing that passion offers numerous benefits. First, because you know what you really want to do, you can work on achieving that dream wholeheartedly. If you do not want to do something in the first place, it is hard to be motivated in the long run.

In Nepal’s context, sometimes following your passion can be challenging when it contradicts what your parents want you to be. Thus, I urge parents to be more understanding of their children’s talents and dreams, and the youth to be proactive and dedicated to what they want to pursue. Second, I believe your productivity level increases tremendously when you do something you love.

The quality of your work improves, and because you enjoy doing the work, you will do the best to overcome the challenges that arise. Any job can be challenging in its own way, so to be productive and efficient, it is necessary to love the work itself. Third, passion allows you to perform at your highest level and thus increases your chances of getting promoted and getting a raise or recognition in the company or community. While passion is not the only factor that determines your professional growth and accomplishments, what are equally as important are a strong work ethic, people skills, time management, experience and education, among others.

From the management side, passion becomes a true asset in a company, especially a startup one. A startup company can succeed or fail depending on how passionate the founder and the first few employees are about the product or service (given that it was a good idea that solved a problem in the marketplace). Established companies are always in the hunt for the right people, and a good financial compensation package alone is not enough to attract the brightest talent.

Management is looking to hire passionate individuals for several reasons. First, when the employees love the work itself, the management does not have to continue motivating its staff over time. This saves the company resources, mainly time and money. There are plenty of challenges an employer in Nepal faces every day, and having to motivate their employees consistently can harm the company’s productivity. Second, if an employee is not passionate about his or her job and is only motivated financially to work at a certain company, then there are higher chances of that employee not sticking around too long. If that individual finds a lucrative offer, he or she will most likely jump ship and join another company that offers higher financial rewards than the current one.

So, hiring the right person for the job (meaning hiring someone who is passionate about the company’s work or what it does) is vital for the company. Third, most companies care about their company culture and do not want to hire people that can affect the company’s internal dynamics. Many companies can easily spot the people in the interview process who do not fit the company culture and are hesitant to hire those individuals. The companies that care about their culture look for individuals who are passionate about the company’s mission, values, and its work.

At Incessant Rain Animation Studios, Kiran Joshi makes sure to hire people who love animation and arts. He also added that it is easier to separate an individual motivated by the love for animation from the one motivated financially. He further elaborated on the culture at his animation studio and I was assured that the true asset of any company is its people.

Nepal has immense talent and bright students who graduate from our colleges and universities each year. I have met smart students at colleges, conferences and Entrepreneurs for Nepal’s Last Thursdays events. I encourage students and young professionals to find what they love to do and pursue that dream wholeheartedly. It’s never too early or too late to discover your true love. School is a perfect time to explore what you want to do long term, and internships can help you figure out if you really love being in a certain field or industry.

WORK AND PASSION 

Sometimes even if you know early what you want to pursue in the long run, due to certain reasons you might not be able to go after that dream right away. The reasons can range from financial constraints, family situations and educational level among others, but you should always work towards your dream and take action when the opportunity arises.

A good financial compensation alone is not enough to attract the brightest talent, they also need to really like what they do.

Going forward, more companies will look for candidates who have passion for the company’s work, and your degree alone will not be enough to secure a job in your area of study. Ekaterina Walter wrote in her book Think Like Zuck: The Five Business Secrets of Facebook’s Improbably Brilliant CEO Mark Zuckerberg, that Facebook encourages its workers to form teams around projects they’re passionate about, because Facebook’s leaders clearly understand that great work comes out of doing what you adore.

Finding what you truly love to do takes much introspection and time. I recently came across a good website that can help identify your passion or keep inspiring you to follow your passion. In the Live Your Legend website (www.liveyourlegend.net), Scott Dinsmore shares 27 questions to help find your passion. Scott puts forth questions such as: What makes you happiest in your life? Who do you look up to? Who are your mentors? Who inspires you? Why? If you trusted that your art (creativity) would support your life, how would you live? When was the last time you couldn’t sleep because you were so excited about what you had to work on? What was it?

When you find your true calling, I’m sure that you will lead a successful and happy life. When individuals are doing what they love; a company, community or country can benefit tremendously through higher employee productivity, better employee job satisfaction, increased innovation, improved company bottom lines, and employees leading more meaningful lives. Thus, we need more people following their passion, especially in Nepal’s context.

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