TWP 003 – Passion vs Paycheck – The Constant Struggle of Pakistani Professionals

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In today’s episode I want to go over a commonly misunderstood concept – Passion. Thing is, being in Pakistan, how we approach passion needs to be different. It’s easy to pursue passion when your needs are met, it’s hard to do so when the average salary barely pays rent. So join me as we uncover perhaps a new way to think about Passion when it comes to your Paycheck.

Hosted by Saqib Tahir
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0:51 – Disclaimer on Episode
1:12 – Common roadmaps for Pakistan professionals
3:15 – Passion Vs Paycheck – Intro
5:53 – Common Trap for Salaried Employees
8:12 – What is Passion? My perspective
10:18 – Passion Vs Profit
10:42 – Defining a framework for Passion
12:07 – Defining a framework for Profit
14:30 – Summary of Passion vs Profit
14:54 – A brief look into Ikigai
16:22 – How to develop a Passion
16:42 – Fix your knowledge diet
17:32 – Fix your environment
18:41 – Arming your boredom
19:14 – My road to community engagement
20:49 – In the car segment: Pains of Content Creation

English Transcript Summary: Passion and Career Fulfillment – A Deep Dive

Welcome to another episode of The Wandering Pro. After a hiatus, we are back with fresh content aimed at unlocking the career mindset. Our mission has always been to explore the depths of career-related topics, and today’s episode is no exception.

The Unending Question of Passion

In various communities and groups, especially those with young members, the topic of long-term commitment often brings up the concept of passion. Whether it’s a lack of funds, years of unfulfilled dreams, or just confusion about what passion truly is, this topic seems to surface repeatedly. Today, we’ll delve into this confusion and try to provide some clarity on what passion really means.

This episode will be somewhat opinionated, which I will explain in detail at the end of the episode. Discussing concepts like passion, fulfillment, and mindset can be quite subjective, so take these insights with a grain of salt.

Common Career Lanes in Pakistan

The Traditional Path

The first common roadmap I’ve observed in Pakistan starts with the child going to school, driven by parental expectations. The child excels academically, goes to university, and sets a life goal to get a job. After securing a job and earning a salary, they continue working, their salary gradually increasing, but often without any real fulfillment. This journey typically leads to a point between the ages of 30 to 40, where they realize they lack passion and are merely working to make ends meet. This often results in burnout and dissatisfaction, creating what I call the “peak anti-fulfilled” individual—someone who is constantly complaining and feeling salty about their life choices.

The Passionate Path

The second extreme example involves a person who finds their passion early, possibly through university communities or the online digital world. They struggle to balance their studies and their passion, only to discover that their passion doesn’t offer viable job opportunities. This often leads to frustration and the belief that leaving the country is the only solution, as seen frequently on platforms like Reddit and Twitter. The core issue here is the confusion between passion and paycheck.

Separating Passion from Paycheck

It’s crucial to distinguish between passion and paycheck, especially at the beginning of your career. There are two primary issues: one beyond your control and the other within it.

Issues Beyond Your Control

The first issue is the socio-economic environment, job market conditions, and cultural factors that are beyond your control. These factors require massive legislative or cultural shifts and can’t be changed by an individual alone. Using these as excuses isn’t productive, as they don’t serve anyone.

Issues Within Your Control

The second issue, which is within your control, is your mindset. Your mindset plays a crucial role in how you approach your career and passion. Changing your mindset might be simple in concept but challenging to implement. However, once you manage to do so, it can give you a significant advantage.

The Role of Mindset

When you graduate from university and enter the job market, your primary focus is often on securing a good salary. However, getting trapped in a cycle where every action is driven by its impact on your paycheck can be detrimental. This mindset prevents you from exploring new skills or passions that don’t have an immediate financial reward.

Long-Term Thinking

It’s important to shift your mindset from short-term financial gains to long-term fulfillment. Passion should not be directly tied to your paycheck, especially early in your career. Instead, it should provide a sense of intrinsic fulfillment—something that, 10 or 20 years down the line, makes you proud of your achievements.

Combining Passion and Skill

Passion often opens up more opportunities. Over time, as you develop a skill set alongside your passion, you may find new, unexpected opportunities. Many passionate individuals eventually combine their skills and passions to create something remarkable. Therefore, it’s essential to think long-term and not just focus on the next paycheck.

Balancing Passion and Profit

When we talk about career, profession, and intrinsic fulfillment, there are two key elements: passion and profit. Passion is something you pursue without expecting immediate returns, often finding lifelong fulfillment from it. Profit, on the other hand, pertains to your paycheck, income, or the monetary aspect of your work.

Defining Passion

Passion should be something you can commit to for the long term, a pursuit you never tire of. It should ideally overlap with your skills or income-generating activities, but it’s not a necessity. When someone asks you about your passion, your answer should reflect a long-term commitment, not a short-term trend or a high-paying field. Confusing passion with vocation, or choosing a field solely for its financial prospects, undermines the essence of passion.

Understanding Profit

Profit or income should come from selling your skills, ensuring you are compensated for your expertise. A good profit source should be sustainable, allowing you to invest a standard amount of effort (like 40-50 hours a week) and cover your expenses. It should also be scalable, meaning it can grow over time even if your effort remains constant or decreases. Unfortunately, in Pakistan, many jobs lack this scalability, making it crucial to seek other avenues for financial growth.

Providing Value

A key aspect of a good profit sense is providing value. Merely holding a managerial position without contributing meaningfully doesn’t count. Ensure that your income generation is tied to delivering real value, which will validate your profit sense.

Framework for Passion and Profit

Balancing passion and profit is crucial, and a useful framework for this is the Japanese concept of Ikigai, which balances passion, mission, vocation, and profession. However, this concept requires a deeper level of self-actualization, which might be complex for beginners. Hence, understanding the basic fundamentals of passion and profit is essential before moving on to more intricate frameworks.

Practical Advice

For those struggling to identify their passion, exploration is key. Start by fixing your “knowledge diet”—be mindful of what you consume daily, whether it’s videos, books, or articles. Engage in various activities and communities to discover what aligns with your interests. Joining communities, such as Discord servers, can expose you to new ideas and inspire your passion.

Lastly, embrace boredom as an opportunity to explore new things. Trying different activities and engaging in various communities can lead to discovering new passions and creating value. For instance, engaging in a community unrelated to your primary skill set can still be fulfilling if you can provide value.

Exploring Passion and Profit: Final Insights

You don’t need to aspire to be the next Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos by perfectly combining passion and profit. Instead, find happiness in small things and arm your boredom by continually exploring and engaging with new ideas and activities. The key is to avoid sitting idle and doing nothing.

Success in Ordinary Actions

Success and fulfillment don’t come from doing extraordinary things; they come from doing ordinary things for extraordinary lengths of time. Consistency and persistence in your endeavors are what ultimately lead to meaningful achievements. Keep this principle in mind as you navigate your career and personal growth.

Content Creation and Imposter Syndrome

When it comes to content creation, one of the biggest challenges is dealing with imposter syndrome and worrying about how your audience will perceive your work. It’s important to understand that not everyone will relate to or agree with your content. The goal is to structure your content in a way that it applies to the maximum number of people, not everyone.

Embracing Diverse Opinions

As a content creator, it’s normal to encounter differing opinions and even outright rejection from some of your audience. This diversity of thought is healthy and necessary for growth. You don’t have to agree 100% with everyone you follow or read. For instance, in the tech world, enthusiasts might not always agree with popular figures like Linus or Marques. Similarly, not all advice from global thought leaders like Alex Armuzi will be relevant to everyone, especially in different contexts such as Pakistan.

Relevance and Context

Many popular resources, like the book “Rich Dad, Poor Dad,” emphasize concepts that might not be fully applicable in certain regions. This lack of relevance is why creating content tailored to specific audiences, like the Pakistani context, is crucial. However, even tailored content may face challenges related to the audience’s background or opportunities.

Encouraging Open-mindedness

It’s essential to approach content with an open mind. You don’t need to agree with everything you consume. In real life, we often have differing opinions with friends and family, and that’s normal. This same openness should apply to online content. Engage thoughtfully, provide constructive feedback, and avoid unnecessary anger or negativity.

Final Thoughts

Balancing passion and profit is a journey that requires understanding, persistence, and an open mind. By exploring, engaging in communities, and providing value, you can create a fulfilling path that aligns both passion and profit. Remember, it’s the consistent, ordinary actions over time that lead to extraordinary results.

Prepared by Yousaf Babur

Further learning and references

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