How to make life easierTue, 19th Mar '13, 12:35 pm::

I took me a long time to realize that all of us live the same life. No matter what happens to us on the outside, on the inside, all of us have dreams, fears, and emotions. Even the grumpy teacher who was always giving you a hard time and never showed a sign of empathy. Even your grandma and your annoying coworker. Even Bill Gates and Steven Spielberg. On the outside, people may be good or bad, famous or unknown, rich or poor, beautiful or homely, entertaining or boring. But on the inside, we're more or less wired to experience the same types of feelings to varying degrees of amplitude - happiness, sorrow, self-doubt, ecstasy, and countless others that make us feel 'human.' My fear of failure is no different than yours, your aspirations to do good are same as mine, and our desire to be fondly remembered is why many of us hope to be grandparents some day.

In general, how well we do on the outside, determines how we feel on the inside. Promotion at work makes us happy and being sick makes us sad. If you have the determination and courage, you'll work hard to make the outside better so you can feel good on the inside. That's why we work hard enough to afford our own place and not have to deal with loud roommates. That's why we get an education, move to a new city, get a job, and buy a house. We're all just trying to improve our lives on the outside so that we can have peace and satisfaction on the inside.

The problem is that inside all of us lives a very greedy being with a never-ending appetite for more. There are two ways to feed this beast. One is what most people typically do - feed it with 'more' from the outside. Buy a bigger house, get a second doctorate degree, strive to be famous, or seek public office. All of these are perfectly acceptable ambitions but they require a lot of sacrifices and tend to make life pretty difficult for a long period of time. But there is another way to feed the beast within and it can be a never-ending source of happiness, patience, encouragement, and dedication: Passion.

If you are passionate about something, and I mean genuinely passionate, things like career, hobbies, and goals become a lot simpler. You don't have to worry if college A is better than college B or employer X is better than employer Y because as long as you get to indulge in your passions, you'll be happy, you'll keep learning, and you'll keep getting better. Having a passion does not necessarily make you happier or more successful than those without, but it does give you an edge. Not everyone can have rich parents, right connections, good looks, or affable personality. But anyone can be passionate about anything.

You don't have to be passionate about your career or field of study but it certainly helps. I wouldn't be a programmer if I did not thoroughly enjoy programming. I've been programming for two decades and I'm just as excited about building something new today as I was before the web was invented. I've been fortunate enough to not have too many personal disasters and calamities but I can say that throughout the years, no matter how good or bad things have been, I could always get lost in my world of programming and forget about the world, at least temporarily. My escapes gave me the strength and tools I needed to push myself in the real world and make my outside and inside life better without having to rely solely on external input. Some have defined that as introversion. Others have said that I was lucky to have found my passion so early in life. I don't like to assign labels or attribute to fortune the choices we make naturally. All I know is that being truly passionate about something makes life easier and a lot of fun.

 < Feb 2013Apr 2013 >