21 May, 2009

Passion begets Wealth

Passion & Wealth may seem like things where the twain can seldom meet. Passion is an intense emotion like love, hatred etc. This is something we have felt at some point in our lives and could relate to. Wealth by contrast is an amorphous concept. You could accumulate wealth – but never know how much wealth makes you wealthy. One may feel wealthy with whatever one has. Someone else with millions in the bank may feel poor. Also, passion is an emotion and wealth is the result of some actions and is tangible. So wealth and passion are like chalk & cheese, right?

Yes, they are. Yet, passion in the right direction can lead you to wealth – serious wealth. Really.

Let us turn to passion. Some are passionately in love with their special someone… some are passionate about music, games, nature, travelling etc. They are devoted to their area of interest – with an intensity that will border on ridiculous to others, who don’t share their passion. Try taking the wheel from a car-enthusiast or try separating the musical instrument from the passionate musician. All hell will break loose, if you try! There is an intensity in their pursuit.

That, by the way, works quite well in a wealth accumulation pursuit, as well. I had written in an earlier column that one cannot come into money by running after it. Passion works, though. When one is intensely enthusiastic about something, they naturally tend to do that very well. They may almost achieve perfection in their chosen field. They may look like madguys, who are tilting at windmills. But these guys come up trumps, ultimately.

Ever thought one can earn their living teaching dance and doing really well materially & being famous as well. Seems like an idle pipe dream, doesn't it? It would not, if you were Shiamak Davar. He has made it big- really big. He has dance academies in India & abroad, he choreographs for dance sequences in movies, is a celebrity in his own right and has raked in his millions – all because he pursued his passion for dance. He is just one example. Not convinced?

Try music. There are quite a few doyens who come to mind – Pandit Ravi Shankar, L Subramanian, M S Subbalakshmi, Bhimsen Joshi etc. But the ones mentioned play a lead instrument like Sitar or Violin or, are lead vocalists, who would automatically get noticed, while they perform. In fact, they perform and all else are accompaniments. Now try drums or percussion. Know any renowned percussionist who has become rich & famous, plying his craft? That’s tough, right? Sivamani found it tough too. But he is recognized for his craft. His passion oozes through his pores… it looks like he almost lives for percussion. What has that given him… fame for sure. He is so well known for his craft that he is sitting in IPL matches around the border, cheerleading in his own, inimitable way – with his drums and his persona. Fancy that! There are few percussionists as well known. To all intents, he is pretty well off, though I cannot confirm that – I am not his Financial Advisor, yet!

I had read about a bridge player who was good in his game. But after every game, he was intent on analyzing the outcomes that, his mates went crazy. Since he liked playing bridge & had a natural flair for analysis, his perceptive girl friend suggested that he should take up writing a book on bridge and how to improve the game, with step by step guidance and explanations. Our guy simply loved it and went headlong into the project. When the book released, it was an explosive success. Wealth was just a by-product for him.

Mark McCormack of “ What they don’t teach you at Harvard Business School” fame, in his book had written that he was passionate about Golf. He wanted a career where he could combine his passion with his profession… and IMG was born. His company was one of the most successful sports / celebrity management outfits. He was trained to be a lawyer – where he might have just plodded along. By pursuing his passion, he became a super-successful businessman in an area, he always enjoyed. Mark passed away in 2004. His family counted between them, US$750 million – not bad for doing what you like to do, isn’t it?!

There is a saying that the waiter who straightens the table cloth to perfection and who rearranges & fusses over the flowers to look their best on the table, will rise up to be the Manager & probably the owner. That’s passion at work, again. Wealth seems to come automatically to people like these.

Passion works… in the bedroom & boardroom! Doing the right thing & doing it right is what makes these people court success. So, forget about that dreary job, if you have passion for something else… be it farming, music, painting or wine making. I know a man who was passionate about wine making. A Stanford graduate and a Finance Manager at Oracle, he quit to pursue his passion. Ofcourse, people thought he was nuts to quit his job, come to India and try his hand at wine making! There was no market for wines. Nor was there suitable grapes for making wine. Yet he planted grapes & started his winery. And is he a success? Judge yourself. He has put India on the wine making map and is recognized as a path breaking entrepreneur. You might have heard about him too. Rajeev Samant – CEO, Sula Vineyards. Passion does work. Cheers!

Published in DNA Money on 16/5/2009

No comments: