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  • When you have a job that pays you enough to cover your basic needs,

  • your bills and even some more to spend,

  • the assumption is that you'd be happy,

  • or, even better, fulfilled.

  • And it seems unthinkable when you wake up and say

  • you're going to leave a job like that to pursue a passion.

  • And that was my dilemma six years ago.

  • I had a comfortable job, I lived a comfortable life,

  • and people expected me to be fulfilled,

  • but I wasn't.

  • There was something in me that wanted more.

  • There was a misalignment between the things I did on a daily basis

  • and the things that I deeply cared about.

  • And so I decided to quit

  • and explore the possibility of bringing this passion into my daily routine.

  • And the thing about finding your passion

  • is that it's not straightforward.

  • Even for people with money and degrees,

  • they still struggle to identify their passion.

  • And here I was as a 30-year-old,

  • talking about finding my passion

  • and turning it into a career.

  • Literally, people told me,

  • "You don't talk about passion until you've made enough money --

  • (Laughter)

  • or at least until you're ready to retire."

  • Because there's a notion that looking inward

  • and finding the things that give us pleasure and fulfillment

  • is a luxury that only the rich can enjoy,

  • or a pleasure that only the retired can indulge in.

  • Which made me wonder:

  • Is passion only for the rich,

  • or an experience only the retired can enjoy?

  • For many of us, we've been led to believe

  • that life is a race of survival.

  • We've been conditioned to see ourselves as survivors

  • that must do everything in our power to survive.

  • In Africa, we're nurtured to go through school, cram and pass,

  • in the hope that you get a job after.

  • And if you do, stick at it no matter how much it sucks.

  • (Laughter)

  • Until you get a better offer or you're asked to retire.

  • And as a dropout,

  • I knew that I was not entitled to anything.

  • Every opportunity was a privilege.

  • And so when I thought about quitting,

  • it was a huge risk.

  • I was given two alternatives,

  • which are the most popular in Africa.

  • The first one is sign up for any course at a vocational institution and do it.

  • My second option, settle for any job offer you can get,

  • no matter the working conditions,

  • and do it.

  • That probably explains why we have so many of our young people

  • being trafficked in search of greener pastures.

  • I opted for the first option.

  • I did look at a couple vocational institutions

  • in the hope that I would find a course that resonated with my persona,

  • my dream and my aspiration.

  • I was disappointed to learn that there was no room for misfits like me

  • in these institutions.

  • The education system in many parts of the world

  • has been designed around preselected options

  • that young people are expected to fit in or risk becoming misfits.

  • And so going through school, I was nurtured and conditioned

  • to think in the straight line and stay within the straight line.

  • But when I dropped out, I discovered a world of possibilities.

  • I knew I could be anything, I could study anything,

  • and so I leveraged free online courses.

  • That's how I built my CV, got into employment

  • and worked for eight years.

  • And after eight years,

  • I told myself there must be more to life

  • than just going through the routines of life.

  • So in 2014, I started an organization called Kyusa

  • where we are working with out-of-school youth

  • and empowering them to turn their passions

  • into profitable, scalable and sustainable businesses.

  • Now, when we talk about passion,

  • one of the most common questions that people ask is, "What is passion?

  • How do I even find it?"

  • And in the simplest definition,

  • passion is a collection of your life experiences

  • that give you the deepest sense of fulfillment.

  • And to identify your passion, you need to look inward.

  • So we use two reflective questions.

  • The first question we ask is,

  • "If you had all the time and the money in the world,

  • what would you spend your time doing?"

  • It sounds like a very simple question,

  • but many people struggle to answer this question

  • because they've just never thought about it.

  • The second question we ask

  • is, "What makes you happy

  • or gives you the deepest sense of fulfillment?"

  • Now, you would assume that we all know what makes us happy,

  • but it's also interesting to note that so many people have no idea

  • what makes them happy,

  • because they are so busy going through the routines of life,

  • they've never stopped to look inward.

  • And so identifying the things that give us a deep sense of fulfillment

  • and the things that give us deep joy

  • are thoughts that begin to direct us in the direction of our passion.

  • And just in case you're wondering

  • what your answers are to those two questions,

  • I invite you to sit with these questions later and just reflect about it.

  • However, I am also aware

  • that passion alone cannot guarantee success in life.

  • And I should note

  • that not every passion can become a career.

  • For passion to become a career,

  • it must be coupled with the right set of skills, conditioning and positioning.

  • So when we get our young people to look inward,

  • we also ask them what skills do you have,

  • what talents do you have, what experience do you have

  • that you can use to build a niche in the marketplace.

  • But more than that, we also look at the market trends,

  • because it doesn't matter how much you love and enjoy it.

  • If nobody wants it or is willing to pay for it,

  • it can't be a career.

  • It's just a hobby.

  • And the third thing we look at is how do you position yourself?

  • Who are you targeting? Who do you want to sell to?

  • Why would they want to buy from you?

  • And so the combination of the three is what enables you to move

  • from just a passion to a business.

  • And many of our young people have been able to turn their ideas

  • and burning desires into profitable businesses

  • or social enterprises,

  • and they're not just creating jobs,

  • but they are solving societal challenges.

  • I'll share with you two examples.

  • One of them is Esther.

  • I met Esther two years ago.

  • She had been out of school for two years,

  • and she had been deeply affected by her dropping out.

  • As a result, she had experienced severe depression

  • to a point where she attempted to take her own life several times.

  • Her friends and family didn't know what to do for her.

  • They simply prayed for her.

  • When I met Esther and I started to converse with her,

  • I asked her a simple question.

  • I said, "If you had all the time and the money in the world,

  • what would you do?"

  • Without thinking or hesitation,

  • her eyes lit up and she began to tell me

  • how she wanted to change the lives of young people.

  • She wanted to restore hope and dignity to other teenagers

  • by helping them make informed decisions about life.

  • I was certain of the fact that this burning desire in her

  • was unquenchable.

  • And so we worked with Esther to put a framework around this desire.

  • Today, she runs a social enterprise in her village,

  • raising awareness about substance abuse, mental health, sexual reproductive health

  • and is helping other school dropouts acquire vocational skills,

  • so they can make a living for themselves.

  • Esther turned 20 this year,

  • and for the last two years, she has organized an annual teen fest

  • that brings together over 500 teenagers.

  • (Applause)

  • Young people that are able to network and collaborate

  • on different projects,

  • but more importantly to meet professionals they would otherwise never have met.

  • This is all engineered by a girl that believed the world had no room for her,

  • that without education she would never amount to anything.

  • But by looking inward and tapping into a burning desire,

  • putting structure around it,

  • it has become a model that not only changed her life

  • but is transforming the lives of hundreds of young people every year.

  • My other example is Musa.

  • Musa is a natural artistic guy.

  • He's the kind that would look at any design and replicate it with ease.

  • And so he seeks to recognize that ability in him.

  • When I met Musa, he was doing all kinds of crafts --

  • bags, belts, wallets --

  • but it was more of a part-time thing.

  • Or sometimes, if he was really broke and needed to make quick money,

  • then he would come up with a design and sell it.

  • But he had never thought of it as a business.

  • We started working with Musa,

  • helping him shift his mindset from a hobby to a business

  • and beginning to rethink how he can make products that he could sell

  • and even be able to scale.

  • Musa makes some of the most amazing bags I've ever seen,

  • and over the last one year, Musa's business has grown.

  • He has been recognized in different places.

  • Currently, he's talking about exporting to developed countries.

  • Musa, like any other dropout,

  • believed that without academic credentials,

  • he wouldn't amount to anything.

  • He thought the talent he had was nothing

  • simply because he did not have an academic paper to define him.

  • But by looking inward and finding that what he had was the greatest asset

  • and supporting him to turn it into a business,

  • he's not just living -- he's thriving.

  • The thing about looking inward is that it can be scary,

  • especially if you're doing it for the first time.

  • But the truth is you never truly start living

  • until you learn to live from the inside out.

  • And in unlocking potential, we need to look inward to identify

  • the things that give us a deep sense of fulfillment,

  • the things that give us the deepest joy,

  • and then weave them into the patterns of our daily routines.

  • In so doing, we cease to work and we start to live.

  • And the thing about living is that you never have to retire or to resign.

  • (Laughter)

  • (Applause)

  • And so as you think about unlocking potential for ourselves,

  • for our young people, for our children,

  • let's not condition them to look outward

  • but condition them to look inward

  • to tap into who they are and bring that self into what they do every day.

  • When you cease to work and you live,

  • when passion becomes a career,

  • you don't just excel,

  • you become unstoppable.

  • Thank you.

  • (Applause)

When you have a job that pays you enough to cover your basic needs,

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B1 TED passion musa young people fulfillment esther

2 questions to uncover your passion -- and turn it into a career | Noeline Kirabo

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/04/23
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