Study, work hard, be diligent, and you shall be successful.
Before we start work, we measure success in terms of top grades, top placements and top packages.
After we start work , we measure success in terms of better reputation, more branding, increased influence and power, if not more money as well.
Branding, influence, power, reputation may add up to constitute what many call ‘work satisfaction’.
Work satisfaction is not given by work of a particular nature, it is not part of a job profile, it has to be created. You have to work in a particular way to create work satisfaction for yourself.
There are ways to hack exams, to study less, study strategically, get more marks, but what is the way to hack work satisfaction?
One way of solving the problem of low work satisfaction and have a more fulfilling life is through becoming a messiah, a pioneer, or a frontrunner, of a new thought. The process is explained below.
Why should you want to become a visionary:
1. To create a unique professional identity
We all crave a professional identity – we do not want to be machines, drones, or computers who work with clockwork precision – we want to stand for something. This is the reason that being a messiah should be acceptable to more people than you can imagine.
2. For friends, contacts, social circles, networks and power
Well, the contacts you develop, and these will be your OWN contacts, not contacts from your office. Even if they are not your paying clients, they will believe you, be led by you, be influenced by you, more than anyone else amongst your peers.
This will lead you to have a wider social circle – you will inevitably end up making more friends (some of whom can be game-changers in your life), you will collaborate more, pursue rejuvenating activities together (sky-diving, skiing, anything), you are likely to attend more parties, etc.
3. For the fun of it
It seems that being a messiah might add to some additional ‘work’, and now I am saying it’s going to be fun. How?The fun of it is, well, you don’t have to search for news anymore, news comes to you first, before it becomes news. This is because of the vast network of relevant contacts you would have made in the process.
4. For knowing some things that have value beyond your narrow ‘scope of work’
In the world of specialisation, the work that we do, the work that brings us money, is so specific that we lose touch with the outside world, and consequently, we lose interest in our work as well. This is a vicious circle. Knowing things and being able to connect with others keeps you in touch with reality and prevents boredom to a great extent.
Are there messiahs around us?
There are many instances of visionaries around us in real life – Manmohan Singh was a visionary when he decided to initiate liberalization of the Indian economy, Mahatma Gandhi was a visionary, when he believed that non-violence could achieve anything, including a nation’s independence. However, it is more difficult to spot instances of visionaries in our own field. You may also need to develop the habit of spotting them. I will give some examples – Professor Shamnad Basheer is someone most law school students identify with, is a pioneer in the field of intellectual property law in India. He has advised the Indian Government, knows the top brass in most law firms and pharmaceutical companies, is brilliant at making connections with students.
Similarly, the person who started the company you work for, or the founding partner in your law firm could be a visionary. Of course, it is not easy to find out what traits lead one to becoming one. I shall explain the most important one here.
How do you become a messiah / visionary – the Insider’s Mini Guide
Now, the critical part – in order to build the network you aspire for – you need to stand for something. You can’t become a messiah working 24 X 7 on technical matters, or things that the experts in your field know inside out and do everyday. Of course, you need to work hard on them, in order to continue with your current job, to improve work quality and output, to impress seniors and clients, and to continue on your way to professional development and promotion.
At the same time, you must identify empty areas, and start rooting for causes others haven’t. It is not difficult to link your field to the cause. For example, a lawyer interested in sports law will notice that in the vast literature on doping regulations and countless justifications that state that sports players must be punished for doping irrespective of whether they are at fault, players’ rights are ignored completely. Large sports organizations can afford experts to justify their regulation, but there are no sportsmen’s associations in countries which are organized enough and powerful enough to present a coordinated stand to sports federations like the International Olympic Committee.
When you stand for something, something that is ignored, and then try and connect with others, they start identifying you with the issues you argue. You begin to develop a professional identity and make contacts. This slowly enables you to have your voice heard where it can make a bigger impact – before the media, before governments, at international gatherings, etc. Over a period of time, you are able to influence the thought process of an entire school of people. This is how you develop a professional identity and fulfil your karma.
Work stops being boring. You begin to identify your work with larger issues that lie out there in the real world.
What happens to the world if everyone becomes a messiah? Well, India is very diverse. At the same time, it is an emerging market economy, and needs countless solutions to its problems. You can surely find your niche, if you search enough. You are a messiah in a particular niche, not in everything that exists in the world. There is ample room for everyone to become a messiah.
And … the Money?
I suggested a way of life above. If you follow it, you will definitely not remain a pauper. In fact, as you are going to love your job a bit more, you are likely to survive longer and sustain yourself better. In some cases, it may be possible for you to earn side income as well, depending on the nature of your work, and your employment terms.
Go there, venture out deep, and become a messiah. Your country needs young leaders. If you like the thought, let us know here.