You can do it.
Spent the entire day at Drama Centre today attending TEDx-inspired talks by 12 speakers from all over the world.
I'd normally have doubts about spending an entire day outside of office when I'm busy like mad, but this was time well spent.
If anything, it was good to be away from the computer for a while and to open my mind up a little, get inspired a little, and get away from the daily grind.
Most of the talks were good, some great, some bad.
There was one which I didn't get at all, and when it ended, I turned to my colleagues and said, "the best part is the end." 😂
To which they laughed out really loud in the relatively quiet theatre.
The one speaker who really inspired me is Davy Liu. He is the animation artist who was behind Beauty and the Beast, Aladin, and went on to create Lion King. He then left Walt Disney to set up his own company, kendu.. which means "can do".
Originating from Taiwan, he wasn't a typical straight A student. He didn't like studying, but he enjoyed drawing. His parents packed him off to the US to study, and that was where he met his art teacher, who told him, "You can do it."
It was a simple statement, but so powerful it became the driving force behind what he did, the decisions he made, the passion he pursued, and ultimately what defines him.
Well, I can't get straight As. But I can draw a straight line.
I love the way he puts it.
Know your strength; it's ok if it's different from what society or others think it should be.
To each his own.
Now I have not had much of a struggle on what I want to do versus what I should do.
I don't have any special talent; I can't draw, can't dance, can't play any musical instrument, can't sing to save my life.
I loved stage plays and directing but I don't consider myself good enough to do it for a living.
I loved, and still love, writing but I think I'm better off doing it as a hobby.
Back in school I used to dabble in all these things I loved doing, the stage plays, script writing, literary articles, school magazine editor, student journalist and while my parents thought I'd eventually become a journalist, I had no illusion of "living my passion".
Because that takes a lot of talent, and a lot of grit. I can do the latter, but I was never sure about the former.
What is good enough?
What is best-in-class?
I figured that since I don't have any special talent, I don't have a case to argue for or against.
I should just study as hard as I could. It's ok if this wasn't "cool", that I wasn't struggling with my identity or coerced into giving up my "passion".
I made up for it by choosing subjects I liked. No drama here.
So here I am.
When I landed a job in my current company, I was on cloud nine.
It was my dream job in my dream company.
Research, consumer, analysis, insights, all the the things I enjoy doing.
The traveling, getting to know different consumers and different cultures, and translating that into what it means for the brand.
Every little recommendation I make that gets regarded or approved gives me the satisfaction and motivation to work harder.
I need to find that passion again.
What would I tell Clarissa when she grows up?
If she's faced with a dilemma on passion versus practicality, what do I tell her?
Do I disregard her passion and talent, and tell her to study as hard as she can?
Or do I help her become the best she can be, in her area of passion?
I don't have an answer now.
My only wish is for her to be happy.
And you can be happy pursuing your passion, or you can be happy maintaining stability and little luxuries in life.