Are you caught in the dilemma of following your passion or earning a living to secure your pension? We all know the lure of the latter option is not easy to avoid. But are there ways of staying connected to what you truly love while tending to the key necessities of life? If these questions have been troubling you, read on. You may not have to choose between ‘Passion’ and ‘Pension’ after all.
With the observation beehive made of glass on the rooftop.
Look at the image above. That is me with honeybees — the passion of my life.
Left to my own devices, I would spend all my time with them — rearing them, creating awareness about the pivotal role they play in agriculture and the environment, develop innovative means to harvest the valuable products they give and live my life as a satisfied beekeeper.
Empowering rural women through beekeeping: Teaching women from Malik Mau Chaubara village, Rae Bareli District, Uttar Pradesh, the finer aspects of apiculture.
I once gave up a flourishing career to pursue this passion because I was convinced that I could create a sustainable cooperative of beekeepers on the lines of Amul and harness beehive products like honey, bee pollen, propolis and beeswax. In the process, I knew that I could help empower rural women and make the village ecosystem richer.
BeePositive was born out of this conviction.
The concept was created by the BeePositive team at IIT Delhi, which made our startup a part of their special entrepreneurship programme. The Department of Science and Technology’s award of excellence for our successful proof of concept was a boost. But alas, I had to return to doing a regular job.
At Hisar, Haryana at an apiary.
Why? Because though we created enough of a buzz, we didn’t get the honey (read investment) for the initiative to take off. Agri-startups often face this scenario, as more and more investors focus on ideas linked to e-commerce and on creating more wealth where it already exists.
I could have wallowed in self-pity — I admit I did for sometime — on giving up my passion. But I had learnt a very important lesson from the bees, which tap 2 million flowers and fly 55,000 miles to produce just one pound of honey.
"Going through the bees": Opening the hive to examine the condition of the brood and food stores and looking for signs of disease, swarming, or anything else that needs attention.
The lesson was that passion aside, the important things had to be dealt with in life. Though everyone may not be lucky enough to pursue their passion full-time, there are ways of staying connected to what you truly love. I now have a regular job, but I haven’t forsaken my passion.
So let me share some of those strategies on how I do it with you. If you too are caught in the dilemma of following your passion or earning a living to secure your pension, this should help you.
Mark Twain once said, "Plan for the future because that’s where you’re going to spend the rest of your life”.
If things work out then you could be the next Steve Jobs and if they don’t then at least you will have a pension to fall back on.
PS: No wonder the bees fly out tirelessly everyday to gather nectar and convert it to honey, just as you trudge off to work, in the hope that one day your passion will certainly materialise into reality. In fact, I have learnt most of the best management lessons of life from the bees.
Kanupriya Saigal is the founder of the Socially Sustainable Startup BeePositiv. The views are personal.
First Published: IST