Your passion is not as clear cut

In non-asian context, there’s always this talk of finding your own passion. When you find it, you will never work a single day of your life.

And in asian context, chances are, your parents, relatives or friends will just say, “Find a job that give you stability, high pay and prestige. Fuck your passion.”

What if you are asian and received western education?

It turns out, in both asian and non-asian societies, parents behave mostly the same, which lead to their kids doing stuff they don’t like. And Gary Vaynerchuk does a better job of explaining it in this video.

So… what is passion?

Now, for me, I was lucky. My parents didn’t expect me to be anything. They just want me to have a better life than them and be happy. Then the day came when I was inspired to be a game programmer when I was about fifteen years old. With that inspiration, I pushed myself to do my best for my studies and make my way to a polytechnic where I get myself exposed to the world of information technology. Then I graduated with a final year specialisation in game development.

But I didn’t go that route because I found that the game industry in Singapore wasn’t as established as it is today and the reality of video game industry meant I didn’t want to risk burning out on the very medium I rely on for relaxation.

So I went with general software development. Before I know it, five years passed. Now I realised I couldn’t be bother with the latest technology. I no longer want to spend time learning about messaging queues like Kafka, latest trends in microservices, what’s new with Spring Framework, etc. And when I watched Apple’s WWDC 2019, as much as I’m happy with the state of Augmented Reality and what Apple is doing to help developers on that front, I find myself having zero desire to do it.

I would say these five years of work in the real world exposed quite a lot of things for me. It made me think about what I truly enjoy.

I like science.

I like technology.

I love reading fiction.

I love writing, science fiction in particular. It was all to express myself.

I love building structures and routines for myself.

I love playing video games.

And now my question becomes: what can I do for a living that allow me to apply some, if not all of the above, so that work doesn’t feel like work? As of right now, even I accepted the counteroffer from my company and continued to work there, I know my heart and mind is now all on crafting my next science fiction novel, which is moving along nicely at eight thousand words.

For those who are still attempting to find your passion, please don’t rush. I know you must feel like you are running out of time. But really, if you are in your twenties, you got the time on your side. If you are inspired to do something, go do it as much as practicality allows. That way you have the chance to decide if that’s something you want to do for a considerable amount of time. Otherwise, you will never know. By the time you hit your thirties, you’d probably identify things that you know you can do without feeling like shit.

I’m glad that I got the chance to identify all the things I enjoy after attempting to do something that I thought I might enjoy. I will probably need a career coach to advice on where to go next.

Quick announcement

I’m currently working on a new writing project. All I can say is, it will be a novel. And as much as I hate making a commitment as to when I will be done with it and then disappointing people, I have to make myself accountable. Therefore, I hope I can finish the novel before the end of the year.

The next thing on my list would be the actual incorporation of a company. My friends and I have already finalised the name, the amount of shares, gotten our office address, and endorsed the company. It’s now in the final step of making payment for the registration and waiting for approval by the authorities. As for what we will be doing, we’ve got some ideas but the main one we have right now is to build a software-based platform for consumers.

The final thing would be me trying to manage my time when it comes my full-time job. From what I understand about my new job scope, I suspect, I wouldn’t have much time for anything else and it’s a scary prospect. However, there are bills to be paid, life to live and food to eat. So it will end up at the centre of my attention most of the time. Unless, well, someone is kind enough to support me financially as I get my company up and running and writing done.

In light of this, I am already considering cancelling my Netflix subscription. I’ve got another paid-tv subscription which I will terminate once I’m done with Games of Thrones Season 8. This way, I can put a roadblock on my entertainment needs. If I do need rest and entertainment, there’s always video games to play and books to read. And those are more beneficial to me than mindlessly watching videos and shows because they do get my brain moving.

All in your head

Distraction.

It’s the thing that could destroy your productivity and send you down the rabbit hole of wasting time and achieving nothing. You will find yourself doing everything else but the one thing you need to be doing.

And you know what? The biggest problem isn’t with distraction. It’s not that video game. Not that Netflix show. Not that book. Rather, it’s you. You are the problem. You choose to play that video game, watch that show or read that book.

So why did you make that choice?

Is it because you lack the discipline?

Or maybe be that the thing you should be doing doesn’t have a strong enough draw to pull you away? Maybe it’s not as important as you think it is? And don’t kid yourself and be all defensive. After all, if it’s important, then why aren’t you doing those things? Why are you allowing yourself to be distracted?

It’s also a conversation that I’m having with myself every now and then.

As much as I like to think I have the discipline to work from home, it’s a lie perpetrated by me on me. The truth is being distracted is a recurring theme. There were so many projects that I want to do but ended up not doing them. I went with playing video games, stopped thinking like a writer and stopped thinking like a designer.

I even told my friends that I couldn’t find the time or concentrate on my stuff at home and needed to work outside. There’s just too many distracting stuff.

One of them said, “it’s all in your head”.

I won’t say I’m surprised. From what I have learned so far, it’s the truth. And the only truth when it comes to productivity.

And that’s a great reminder on who’s really in control.

No one else can make you concentrate or focus. You are the one who decide whether you can concentrate and do the work. Everything else that you say or fight against is just you finding an excuse.

What if you really think that your home has a ton of distractions and you can’t prevent yourself from utilising those distractions? Then go out there and find an environment to work in that allow you to focus. Otherwise, remove all those items in your house that distracts you. Move those distracting things, be it television, your internet router/access points, etc. to a storage unit. Smash them to pieces if you need to. You can always buy a new one later. It’s all about creating that environment you need to work.

And watch what you say to yourself. A lot of times, many of the comments or complains you make are just you being fancy and refuse to do the work. So shut up, and make a plan and execute.

Market Survey

In my previous entry, I mentioned that I planned to launch my own startup.

Over the past month, I got some friends onboard to help out with it. We also worked together to get the details of what the startup is all about. Today, we managed to finalise the name of our company and who will do what. We will begin the process of registering the company and start the development work.

However, we don’t know if what we plan to do will be well-received. And it’s important that we don’t do something that people don’t want. Otherwise, it will be a huge waste of our time and energy that could be better spent on building something more useful.

So, we’ve prepared a market survey to help us understand what the market needs. Now, I personally care deeply about privacy. Therefore, I’ve insisted that this survey will be an anonymous one. We’d appreciate it a lot if you guys could take some time to help fill up the survey in the link provided here.