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It may sound too utopian to believe in doing what you love to do and getting paid to do it. While musicians, artists, writers and actors might appear to live a life with a sense of fulfilment, they could actually be struggling to meet their financial obligations. Pursuing what you love to do and managing to make a living out of it is not as easy it might look. Additionally, it also makes us wonder if those people who are doctors, engineers, lawyers and specialists are actually happy doing what they do. Most professions offer the individual the opportunity to be creative, innovative and fulfilled.

People working jobs which require the least amount of intellectual effort may lose a sense of purpose in the long run, even if the money they receive allows them to lead a comfortable life. Many people who work in such jobs have other talents, but gave up on them. Whether it was financial pressure or the need to earn more money, they hold themselves back from pursuing their dreams. Our education system, societal perceptions and cultural values are rigid and people are afraid to break away from the norm.

There are many examples of people who have given up on their dreams because of this pressure, and there are other stories of people who have defied the odds and limitations, and have continued to chase their dreams with perseverance and hard work. Many talented people continue to slog in the wrong job and live an unhappy life.

I have heard about a doctor in Kerala who is a talented singer and finds happiness in doing live concerts, when he takes time off from work. For many others, realising one’s true calling comes later in life, and after years of slogging, they find a sense of happiness. Such pursuit does not necessarily have to have a monetary reward, but it is about finding yourself and being content. In fact, psychologist Abraham Maslow, who developed the theory of the hierarchy of human needs placed basic physiological needs at the bottom while the ultimate goal of self-actualisation at the top. The story published in Gulf News about the 58-year-old Abdullah Al Redha learning kayaking from social media, is an inspiring one (“How Emirati retiree learnt kayaking on social media”, Gulf News, October 13). Redha is setting an example for people and is teaching them not to give up on their dreams, even after retiring from work. There are a lot of opportunities out there, and everyone’s talents and skills can be recognised. - The reader is a resident of Dubai