Guest AuthorRaja Jamalamadaka

You only live once – Dont live someone else’s dream

By | Raja Jamalamadaka | Industry speaker | Neuroscience coach | Marshall Goldsmith awardee | Author | LinkedIn Top voice | IIT | Harvard

My friend, Adar, worked at a top medical institution. He performed well and was respected for his professionalism – a year back, he had just been promoted to the role of chief medical officer. His family was happy for him. His parents were excited – after all, their efforts at educating Adar had paid off handsomely with such a public recognition. Shy and reticent, Adar was asked to get ready for media coverage in the future.

On the D-day, Adar announced his resignation from the institution – he wanted to pursue his passion for organic farming.

Surprise, shock, tears followed. Efforts at convincing Adar seem to bear no fruit. Adar’s decision was final.

A month later – after shock had given way to acceptance, I met Adar at his farm outside the city. In the hot sun, he was carefully examining the soil quality and studying the impact of humidity on the crops – gone were the assistants and the retinue that usually followed him in his prior role. The picture of Adar in a farming garb toiling away in the hot sun stood in sharp contrast to his prior image of a sharply-dressed executive doling out advice in an air conditioned corner office.

Adar eagerly showed me the results of the impact of earthworm-farming on sesame productivity – he clearly seemed excited.

Over lunch, I asked him why he took such a decision at that point.

“To be honest, I never wanted to pursue medical profession – I loved nature and wanted to do farming. However, medicine was a hot-shot line – a combination of parental, societal and peer pressure forced me into choosing medicine. But now, I finally decided to follow my passion.”

“Why now? So many of your acquaintances were disappointed with your decision.”

“Sometime back, I read this quote from Ann Landers

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I could so relate to it. In my twenties, others drove my choices and decisions. Now in my forties, I have realized that I simply don’t care what others think of me or my choices – I have decided to follow my dreams.

Another realization dawned on me – I didn’t want to get into to my sixties only to realize that no one actually had been thinking about me at all – why then should I live someone else’s dreams? I decided to act before it was too late”.

“But what about your position, perks? Aren’t you missing those comforts?” 

“Honestly, I miss those. Who doesn’t appreciate assistants, a huge corner office and a fat pay check ? But when I was in the medical profession, I missed something even more – freedom. I hate to say this but in my earlier profession, others drove my targets, schedule and priorities. I had limited time to spend with my family – but I couldn’t do much about it. I soon realized that my fat pay, perks and cushy life had become golden handcuffs holding me back from pursuing my passion and reaching my full potential.”

“How has your family taken it? Isn’t this a drastic change in status?”

“Status?” He went on to give me his definition of professional status –

“Professional Status is items you buy that you don’t need, to please people you don’t like, with money you don’t have.”

“This fake professional status was unappealing to me. Secondly, the change in my professional status was a boon in disguise – several “friends” who would eat out of my hand and fall over each other to host me at events deserted me the moment I switched my profession – they didn’t want to associate with a “cipher”. Unwittingly, my decision helped me realize who my true friends were. Once my family saw all this, they supported my decision wholeheartedly”.

Adar’s message?

You only live once. Dont live someone else’s dream.

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I would love to hear your views. Please leave a comment in the comment box below so I can learn from your experience.

Raja Jamalamadaka is a Harvard educated TEDx and corporate speaker, entrepreneur, mentor to startup founders, and winner of “Marshall Goldsmith award for coaching excellence” for being top 100 coach to entrepreneurs. He was adjudged a LinkedIn Top Voice 2018 for being one of the platform’s most insightful and engaging writers. His primary area of research is neurosciences – functioning of the brain and its links to leadership attributes like productivity, confidence, positivity, decision making and organization culture. If you liked this article, you might like some of his earlier articles here:

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How to overcome stage fear

How to be in the Right Place at the Right Time

How to use your brain effectively for success

How to stay relevant in a dynamic job market

How to sustain professional success

How to be Happy in Life

How to become an effective communicator 

Republished with permission and originally published at Raja Jamalamadaka

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