Passion is overrated

Issue 24 - weekend newsletter

I was in the 9th standard when I was introduced to the word - Passion. Small town guys are busy with other things such as figuring out how to clear papers, how to collect money for one beer bottle, and trying to escape the torture of tuition classes. Yours truly did everything other than studying. And study only to get the passing marks.

I had no pressure as my parents had no hopes for me. They just wanted me to clear my papers and prayed that they should not be called to the principal’s office. My mother would go once every year for my younger brother and get praised for his talents and for me it was every month. “Mrs. Naidu, your elder son is breaking all limits. This time he has fought with a young teacher.” In fact, I was so famous that if something wrong would happen in the school, I would be the first person to be called at the Principal’s office.

I never understood the meaning of Passion and thought that it is the word for toppers. My problem is that I have to experience things in my life to understand and that leads to my risk-taking abilities. Don’t start smiling, this ability is also the single most reason for my downfall.

So in short I never understood what Passion is till my ex-startup happened. Don’t get me wrong I didn’t start Lighthouse Insights because I was passionate. I never had confidence that I can stick to something for more than two or three weeks. So the first year of LI happened while I was working full time at Oracle where I was mostly underutilised. I wanted to see if I can do something every day and be consistent for a year. 

In the third or the fourth year I started realising that my startup had become an obsession. I would fight with the entire world to justify that my dream has some power and one day it will become all good. I would work 14-15 hours everyday, travel to Mumbai every week, write in the mornings, travel from Andheri to Churchgate do at least 2-3 meetings, and still have the energy to work on the next day. I am not trying to boast but suddenly I had found something that gave me meaning, respect, and purpose.

I risked everything for my startup because I loved it. This was happening for the first time in my life. I was always high with my work so much that it made cracks in my personal life.

Obviously I didn’t listen. All my life I have done what I have loved and believed is good for me. I was really charged that I have figured out what Passion finally is. My life long quest has been to find what I am good at.

But the dream ended soon and once again I had no passion, no goal, and finally no purpose in my life. For months I was just blank. Because suddenly Passion was gone.

So what is Passion and do we need to have it? The Internet is filled with articles and videos on why Passion is important and how it is important for Entrepreneurs. Trust me it is complete BS. We are constantly being fed with lies on the Internet about life, work, and relationships.

“People who speak at universities, especially at commencement, who tell you to follow your passion - or my favourite, ‘to never give up’ - are already rich. And most go there by starting waste treatment plants after failing at five other ventures - that is, they knew when to give up,” writes Scott Galloway in his book The Algebra of Happiness

Don’t follow your passion. Your job is to find something you’re good at, and after ten thousand hours of sleep practice, get great at it.

Scott further writes that nobody starts their career passionate about tax law. But great tax lawyers are passionate about colleagues who admire them, creating economic security for their families and marrying someone more impressive than they are.

I don’t chase passion, anymore. I do things that make me happy and I have figured out a way that people pay me so that I live a peaceful life and work on my responsibilities. For instance writing gives me joy and peace. Earlier this year I started working on a consulting project which came to me because of my writings. Thankfully they haven’t thrown me out yet, so I am making some sense. 

People generally talk to me because they have read my articles or have a belief that I make some sense when it comes to digital. They also know I hate BS and I am not a people pleaser. I don’t have online and offline versions.

So is writing or the understanding of marketing in the digital world my Passion. No they are not. They give me happiness and people pay me for my digital knowledge. In the last nine years from 2011, I have done only one thing in my proffesional life - I have read, observed, and shared my thoughts about digital in India.

So you can waste your time finding what you are passionate about or do things that you love and keep working on it. It won’t happen on day one and in a year. It will take time but you won’t realise it in your forties. Unless you are a dumb ass like me. Additionally, find ways how to make money. The choice is yours. Only being passionate won’t pay your bills.

No, I am not those positive thought leaders who are making a dent in the world. I am fucked every other day, I have days where I don’t do anything and I am sleeping most of the time. But there are days I work on myself. I am excited and charged up. I am a man of extremes but I don’t have the pressure to chase behind the passion. You might think that I don’t have ambition and killer instinct. You may be right but I am happy this way. By doing nothing.

But don’t listen to me. Do your own thing. Live your own life and walk your own journey.


Thank You! If you are still with me. I shared two stories this week, please take a look if you have missed them.

This week I started a personal fundraising campaign for COVID19. The idea is to support families with zero or less income and medical staff. To make sure the funds reach the needy, I have associated with Action Against Hunger India.

Here is the article link with all details of the campaign. And here is the Donation Link if you want to help the campaign.

With 44% more emails being sent than before the COVID outbreak, getting an email strategy right is essential and marketers need to be targeted, educational, and empathetic. I am a long time advocate of Email Marketing and in this article I share the sudden love for email marketing by brands, how it is a potent tool for NGOs and obviously it is not dead. It has evolved.

Read: Email marketing is not dead

That’s all for this week. I will see you next week but before I say bye, I have an interesting question:

“What if you are told by God that tomorrow you are going to die. You have 24 hours but the good news is that you get one wish that you can fulfill in 24 hours. What will be that one wish you would like to fulfill.”

You don’t have to tell me. Answer for yourself. I have mine and it is my purpose for now. Give it a try, you might find something interesting. Spend time with yourself.

Peace and Happiness ❤️