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Dream to Reality: How I Quit My Day Job

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Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking, and don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. ~Steve Jobs

Ever since I learned about the concept of financial independence five years ago, the seed of a dream had been planted. My dream: Having the freedom to deliberately choose how I spend every day – to have complete freedom of time.

As of last week, my dream became a reality.

I left my job at Amazon to start this new life chapter. I have three goals:

  • To complete a triathlon
  • To learn French
  • To live everyday fully, as if my last

My answer to the question “What do you do?” will now be “I spend fulltime pursuing my passions.”

How to Find Passion in Your Job

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Are you in a stage of loving your life so much that you would pay money to live it? If not? What can you do about it? A common question asked is, “I really want to feel that way, but I’m just not passionate about anything. How do I find passion?”

A friend of mine asked me that question a few weeks ago. He has a high paying job and what appears to lead a full and fulfilling life, complete with volunteering and interesting hobbies. But he felt that something was still missing. He was looking for his purpose and genuinely wanted to find his passion. “I like a lot of things, but I don’t have any passions. How can I find passion, Tina?” This is a great question, and one that got me pondering about the topic. This article specifically looks at finding passion in your job.

This is part two of my notes from Professor Srikumar Rao‘s google talk, along with my personal thoughts on the topic. You can find part one here: How to Make Profound and Lasting Change.

How to Make Profound and Lasting Change

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Is there an area of your life that you would like to change? Is there an area of your life you’ve tried changing, made some progress but somehow ended up in the same spot you started in?

Maybe you want to lose weight; you want to improve your temper; you want to control your web browsing addictions; to be a better parent; or in my case, to wake up early and to exercise regularly. Often, I’ve found myself struggling when revisiting the subject.

I came across a google talk of Professor Srikumar Rao. His mission is to help highly intelligent people find meaning in their lives. His talk deeply moved me and I knew instantly that I had to share with you. The following are part one of my notes, along with what I learned from this talk.

Life on Purpose: 15 Questions to Discover Your Personal Mission

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I believe that we were all sent here for a reason and that we all have significance in the world. I genuinely feel that we are all blessed with unique gifts. The expression of our gifts contributes to a cause greater than ourselves.

First, a personal story

Last year, I was running at full speed; chasing after my dream of money and ‘success’. However, I had forgotten why I was running. Luckily, I met Jim (not his real name). Jim had achieved all the financial goals I was reaching for. He had financial independence, several successful businesses, homes in multiple countries, and the luxury to afford the finest things money could buy.

Through hard work, persistence and sheer action; he had made it! But, Jim was not happy. He did not have the free time to enjoy his wealth. He wanted a family. He wanted peace. He wanted to live his life… but he was not able to. He had too many responsibilities, too much to lose, and too many things to protect. He had spent years building his castle, and now that it is complete, he is spending his time keeping it from eroding.

Getting to know Jim was a life altering and eye opening experience. His words snapped me out of my state of ‘unconsciousness’. It became clear to me that, “I did not want to spend the next 10 years chasing after money, only to find that I’ll be back at the same place I am at today; emotionally, mentally, and spiritually”. My ‘chase’ came to a screeching halt, everything was put on hold, and I spent the next two months re-evaluating my life and purpose.

How to Motivate Yourself to Massive Action

Photo by Sara Lando
It's the action behind the attraction that makes the wish come true

Powerful motivation comes in understanding that you can achieve anything you truly desire in your heart. It is the knowledge that you are destined to fulfill your every goal, which drives you to change.

The decision is the first step towards change. Regardless of the decision, every change requires some form of action. Do you find it challenging at times to motivate yourself in taking action? Sometimes, I catch my mind making excuses, and occasionally I ‘succeed’ in avoiding the action all together. Here are some pointers I have personally found helpful in motivating myself:

  • What & Why?“Start with the end in mind.” To achieve a goal, it’s important to define clearly what that goal is. How do you know when you’ve achieved it? Define a measurable end. Once you have your goal, it’s important to understanding the Why – why you are doing it? Ask yourself what are the motivating factors behind it? For your family? For your kids? Why? Why must you succeed?
  • Break it down to small achievable tasks – It is very easy, and human, to be overwhelmed by the sheer effort and energy involved in achieving a big goal. Especially if the goal consists of many unknowns or a long-drawn process. We tell ourselves it’s impossible or it’s too much work, and then we give up even before we take any action towards a goal. I’ve found it very helpful to always split the main goal into several milestones. Then breaking each milestone into a series of steps to achieve that milestone. For each step, break them down further into smaller, measurable and achievable tasks that can be achieved in a few hours or less. This will make the goal appear manageable. Achieving one task after another builds confidence and momentum, and before you know it, the end result will be in sight.
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