Love what you do?


My boss and I were having one of those frustrating ‘how do we constantly keep everyone motivated’ discussions. The slow Monday afternoon could not get any slower until he remarked, “a job is ‘work’ by definition, and ‘work’ is not supposed to be fun.” So we went about our daily tasks, waiting for the ‘play’ to begin at 5, or 6, or 8 pm, or whatever time we were lucky enough to get off work. But something didn’t make sense to me. We spend over 35% of our week at work, for 45 or so years of our life. What a terrible waste if we go through all this time without enjoying – or more so being thoroughly passionate – about what we do?!

Prof. Amy Wrzesniewski’s research emphasizes the importance of intrinsic motivation over extrinsic motivation, such that if you consider your job a ‘calling’ your performance would be higher than if it’s just a ‘job’, or even a ‘career’. The next question is, if we don’t enjoy what we do, can we really be good at it? And if we’re not good at our work, but we spend so much of our lives at it, then that is terribly inefficient. And while we’re talking about waste and inefficiency who should come to mind but dear ol’ Adam Smith? Like he says, when individuals pursue their self-interest they indirectly promote the good of humanity, because that is what leads to specialization and thus division of labor. If we put our hearts into our work and we become experts at it, we can provide the greatest value. Similarly, if we exchange this value with others that excel at their work, we’re promoting an efficient society. But if our jobs become just ‘work’ and our real lives begin after work, we are not helping our society reach its full potential. Thus I would conclude that it is our duty, not just to ourselves but to society in general, to find work that we love!

Now there are several of us who really are following our passions in our career. But there are still several who are not, and why is that? I can come up with 2 main sets of reason – external and internal. External reasons include environmental factors generally outside of our control e.g. lack of access to education, corruption, parents who insist that we become doctors, lawyers, or engineers because writers just can’t make a living (if this one’s your excuse, try explaining to your parents about your duty to society ;))…

The more interesting to me, are the internal reasons where we either have no idea what our passions are, or we lack belief in ourselves that we can actually carry it out. Do you know someone like this in your life? I’m curious to see explore how we can eliminate such internal reasons and help more of us to pursue our passions, to love what we do!

youdeserve2

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A Connection Economy

When I was a kid I wanted to get to know every person in the world, no kidding. Not that I wanted to be a celebrity. Just wanted to connect; to get to know the whole world on a personal level. I was fascinated by the enormous diversity of the human race and longed to solve the numerous mysteries that every personality entailed for me.

A recent article of an  interview with Seth Godin reminded me of this past whim of mine. He claims that we have left the industrial era and are entering a connection economy. “We are in an era of handmade insights, of human beings who touch other human beings in some way, making change happen.”

What a wonderful phenomenon human communication is! One word, one simple sentence can bring about so many different reactions in different people, so many different consequences – all because of the different emotions we experience. Are we finally realizing the importance of human emotion in business communication? Are we slowly realizing that animal spirits make a difference in our economy? Will we ever even come close to solving the mysteries of communication? How amazingly helpful that would be in every aspect of life, not just business and personal? Are there some people who are just better at solving these mysteries than others? Is it an art that can be taught?

Or are we losing this art in this fast-paced generation of social media and electronic communication where a deep, meaningful conversation is a rare delicacy like classic literature is a waste of time? And it takes a genius like Seth to remind us the importance of this human connection?

For now, I’m off to try and solve one such mystery – my two year old. If only I can figure out how to communicate to her that I’m in charge and she needs to listen to mommy …

So why Lemon Tart?

There are a few things I miss about life in Pakistan.

  • Shikanjabeen – The Pakistani form of lemonade. Fresh-squeezed lemon juice, with sugar, ice, a touch of salt… ahhhhhhhh! The ultimate refreshment in 100 degree summer afternoons. Try as I might, I haven’t been able to get the same taste myself here. Call me crazy, but it feels like lemons here just don’t taste the same. Most fruit doesn’t. I’ve been hearing buzz words like ‘genetically modified’, ‘not organic’ etc. that might have something to do with this. Regardless, I haven’t had real shikanjabeen in a while.
  • Lemon tarts – I can get plenty of lemon tarts here; have even tried quite a few. But it’s the desi* version that I crave – a little pastry tartlet with swirly yellow cream, more sweet than tart, topped with a dot of red jelly. Mmm mmm good! I’d eat around the jelly first so that my last bite would contain the jelly – has anyone else ever tried that?
  • Clothes – the best thing about desi clothes is that you get to design your own! It’s like getting ice cream for Cold Stone or Marble Slab. You get to pick your fabric, then choose from an endless assortment of lace, sequins, broches, buttons, embroidery… Finally you get the clothes tailor-made so they’re just perfect for you. And thus the chances of running into someone else wearing the same clothes are pretty slim. Here, on the other hand, department and chain stores dominate the clothing market.

My nostalgia for desi clothes set in when I started dressing my little pumpkin in Carter’s and Gymboree clothing. Without fail I’d run into another kid at the mall or at a birthday party wearing stuff my baby had. And for some reason it didn’t seem special anymore. I wanted only the most special things for my little one 🙂 How I’d love to shop for my baby’s clothes, Paki style! And I woke up one morning with the idea that I want to share these special things with others. Lemonades and Lemon Tarts,

Chubby babies with pretty clothes,

Days filled with shopping,

 These are a few of my favorite things…

 

What are some of your favorite things? If you’re looking for ideas to start your own business, it’s a good exercise to make this list.

 

* Desi [d̪eːsi] or Deshi [d̪e(ː)ʃi] refers to the people, cultures, and products of the Indian subcontinent and, increasingly, to the people, cultures, and products of their diaspora. Desi countries include India, Bangladesh, Pakistan There are large desi populations in (e.g.) the UK, US, Canada, and other western countries as well. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desi)