In English, Observation, Passion

Passion, Business and Time

I read an article featuring an interview with Karl Lagerfeld. The article was closed with an interesting question.

Interviewer: Have you ever thought of having your own fashion label?
Lagerfeld: No. I love what I’m doing now. I don’t want to be a businessman. I want my business to run smoothly, but I don’t want to be responsible for the business. I want to be completely free.

Kompas daily newspaper, Sunday, May 15, 2011.

Many people think that you must make a business out of your talent and passion. Nothing wrong with that. There is a great advantage of owning and running a business. You can have full control on your income, and you get to call all the shots. It is a big responsibility, and it may require a majority of your time. When the business side begins to take the lion’s share time, your passion will suffer. And eventually, it will impact your business as well.

On the other hand, there is always a choice of not having to control everything. Like Lagerfeld, you can go freelance, and limit your influence on what you do and love best. Or have a balance of both. Make it a business, but hire the best people you can trust to run the business.

Both ways need you to develop strong relationships and alliances all around you. The key point is to have as many good people around you to enable you to keep as much of your time free for your passion as possible.

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In English, Passion, Personal Reflection

I Work, Therefore I Am

If you try to engage me in a long conversation about things of which I’m passionate, I might give you a blank stare. I would experience a loss of word so severe that it would take several minutes of self collection before I could speak again.

Of course I’m not serious. But the question still stands as legit. It’s nice to have something that you feel so deeply about that it actually defines you. Painting defines a painter. Music defines a musician. Singing prowess defines a singer.

Some people, like me, defy logical definition of self based on passion. We work day in, day out on things that we do not feel so strongly about. Yet we chose to endure that existence for whatever reasons we think are justifiable. Self preservation, survival, security, you name it.

There’s nothing wrong about it. But can you imagine how mundane life would feel to come home from a job and suddely realize that you just spend a whole day doing things that you’re not really interested to be successful in? Or things that you don’t feel to be the definition of you?

It’s difficult to be true to your calling, to the things that bring excitement and a whisper in your heart. Can you do your job now without feeling that you are wasting your time and talent, or that you are not bringing any meaningful contribution?

I took a hard, hard look at myself, and I realized how fractured and unwhole my being has been. It’s like having a sundry of unrelated spices and ingredients thrown into the mix only to realize that they are not making the taste that you are looking for.

Focus, and discover.

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In English, Passion

The Artist

"Impression of a Swatch Magazine Ad" July 22, 1993

I sometimes watch “Miami Ink” or “LA Ink” on TLC. Although I don’t have tattoos, I cannot help admiring the artists’ skills. They are capable of creating not just a simple black and white tattoos, like the ones you can get cheaply on the beach, but a true work of art. The drawing, the coloring, etc.

The shows remind me of how satisfying it is to be able to render something into a two dimensional drawing. I used to sketch when I was in high school, and I could spend days working on just one sketch. I would make a general outline, and from there I would work the details.

One example of my work is included in this post.

It is unfortunate that I hadn’t been born a true melancholy person. I lacked the discipline nor the patience it took to work slowly and methodically on something. I was always on a rush to finish my drawings. I so wanted to finish it immediately that neither my work nor my skills had the opportunity to be developed.

That is probably the reason I am more comfortable with photography, especially in this digital era.

I still feel like this is a waste of talent, since I don’t sketch much anymore. I wish I could make the time to hone my drawing skills. But then again, time is the one thing I could not afford.

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In English, Personal Observation, Personal Reflection

To Know or Not To Know Your Passion

For the past months my wife followed the Masterchef US on Star World, and I tagged along whenever I wasn’t too busy with something else. It was a reality show about a group of amateur cooks competing for the title “Masterchef.”

It was a wow-ing show for us because it brought the aspects of cooking we never knew existed, even after watching dozens of cooking shows from some of the best chefs. Like how in one episode 24 contestants came up with 24 different egg dishes, and none of them was egg-benedict-ive.

But after all, the show boiled down to ambition to win the $250,000 prize to start a restaurant, and a cooking book deal.

Tonight, after switching from one boring show to another, we came across “Junior Masterchef Australia.” It offers the same theme as the regular show, but the contestants were much younger.

The youngest one is an 8-year-old girl.

All of them cook like a pro. As a measuring stick, my wife said, “I don’t think I can cook what they are cooking.” Our jaws dropped as we were wondering how on earth these kids could cook like that.

The most adorable thing was, unlike “reality” TV shows in Indonesia where children tended (or perhaps intended) to mimic grown ups, those children work the competition kitchen as children. They cook as if they are playing their favorite game.

It was so enjoyable just to watch those kids at work, I really didn’t care whether the end result was delicious, well presented dishes or not. They were so lovable being children.

What stroke me as extraordinary was when one of the children said, “This is my passion. I want to do this in my life.”

Imagine finding your passion at such a tender age.

And to think that an elementary school student understands the meaning of the word “passion” is already mind blowing, especially considering that some of us probably never heard the word until the past few years.

Browsing through the channels again, we found “Gotta Dance UK” on AXN. The first season was won by a child dancer named Akai.

Where will us adults be in a few years from now if children are already making their marks in the world today?

Will there be hope for us?

It is encouraging to remember the words that I found in the book “Your Job Is Not Your Career” written by Indonesia’s career coach René Suhardono. The words went something like this, “If you are 20-30 years old now, you still have 30-40 years to live. It is therefore important to find your passion now.”

In other words, we adults still have decades to go before our dying days. Yes we probably spent the past half or quarter of our lives in the dark, not really knowing what our passions are. But even at this point in life, we still can make a choice: to make the rest of it more meaningful by knowing and living our passions, or to live by going through the motion without knowing what our ultimate purpose in life.

It is therefore not to late to dive deeply, and take chances now.

Have a great, adventurous life!

Masterchef and Junior Masterchef are TV Programs originated by BBC
Star World is a cable TV channel owned by News Corporation
AXN is a cable TV channel owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment

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