Whatever It Takes

Lately, I have been thinking that I was especially naïve all through my 20s. I was heavily influenced by a wide variety of things and my thought process was dominated by them. I had these phases - passion is everything, wanderlust is the way to live life, hustling is the way to go and so on. 

Whatever It Takes
Whatever It Takes 

Passion is overrated and our passions change all the time as we grow. Or may be we are not that skillful at it. Or may be we can't get paid well enough for it. I agree that not everything should be judged based on the monetary value tag. But choosing passion over a stable income that can guarantee our survival and basic comfortable living should be thought over carefully. Don't blindly follow your passion.

Another thing about our interests is - we don't know if it's just something triggered out of peer influence/pressure. If most of your friends are into business, this may make you think that you should also try your luck there. These kind of things really don't have a solid foundation. It's just wishful thinking - like dreaming of becoming the next superstar. When our mind automatically compares ourselves with others, try, instead, to compare the work behind it.

A useful tip to differentiate between just wishful thinking and a potential career path comes from the book "Unf*ck yourself" - understand what it takes to achieve something,  then re-frame the goal in terms of "I am willing to" or " I am unwilling to" and what it takes to achieve it.


  • Entrepreneur : I am willing to work 120 hours per week like Elon Musk till I break even in my startup.
  • Abs : I am unwilling to give up on all my favorite foods and run 5K everyday to get abs.
  • Travel : I am willing to stay away from my family, cut down on all my expenses and raise money by selling my stuff, so that I can travel.

Everything has two sides - the glamourous shell which we crave for, which the media highlights and the humongous boring and tough part which we fail to consider. We need to consider the complete depth of what we are getting ourselves into - efforts, resources, money, time, people and things we need to cut down to focus here,  impact on family and so many other factors. How long can we keep going without giving up? Do you have enough backup in terms of money and support people? What things in your current routine do you need to give up? How many people will be in this with you? How many will you lose immediately or gradually? How much family time will you actually have? Can you live with high stress everyday? How much toll is it going to take on your health and on your mental peace? 

Is this dream still worth all this? If not, then mark it as just a wish and stop pondering about it. If yes, then go all in and give your best.

What ultimately trumps more than anything, even the so called passion, is livelihood - without it, nothing else is possible. Prices are skyrocketing and if our pay can't catch up with it, we won't be able to meet the ends or sustain the current lifestyle. If we have a dead end job and not a career path, we may not even have any job tomorrow. What's worse is that, many of our jobs have no retirement funds, so we need to fend for ourselves after 60 without a job and with a whole bunch of problems caused by ageing - without the corporate insurance provided by our job. 

If you have a family and EMIs/debts to pay, you have quite less independence to do whatever you want to do.

Another thing to check for is - where does your ladder end? In software industry, it often happens that after certain experience, you have to transition to managerial roles when it's the end of your technical ladder. What are your options, when the ladder ends? 

This is not to sound discouraging, but rather to be practical - to get a reality check frequently. Dream, but gauge what it takes to achieve it and how you can sustain in this fast paced world. 

  • Secure your livelihood. Have a clear plan B in worst case situations - losing job, huge losses in business etc. 
  • Plan your retirement. Invest and get your passive income stream ready. Don't put all eggs in one basket, but don't spread yourself too thin over different things. Take out time to plan your finances. If you have a family, then the stakes are high and you you got to plan it at bulk scale. 
  • Have a career not just a job or be a brand yourself who can start and take off in any kind of business instead of just trying out your luck blindly.

Whether you want to be an entrepreneur, artist, travel or have a 9 to 5 job ultimately boils down to the life you are willing to put up with. Choose what's best for you, instead of going for what's fancy or what everyone in your gang is doing. 



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