Love, Family or Others..Where would you choose to focus your passion?


Last week my best friend told me half joking:??

– ???I don't see you coming back in our hometown, now, you still haven???t accomplished what you are supposed to accomplish in life???.

And I answered half joking:??

– ??? I can come back in our hometown for 2-3 years, and I will still work at accomplishing what I am supposed to accomplish in life. I will dedicate my whole life at accomplishing what I am supposed to accomplish in life. I am the next Steve Job.???


She is very similar to me and the only person who is not one of my ???mentor??? that I asked professional advices from. We are both very passionate and workaholic, she follow the corporate path, is very career-oriented and work in the bank industry. I follow the entrepreneurship path, is very impact-oriented and work in ICT.


One thing changed though recently. She met someone. And even though we haven???t had the talk yet, I can feel that her career in not as much as her priority anymore. Not that I would blame her, we are all looking for this kind of stuff.

When Steve Chen was interviewed at TC Disrupt, and mentioned his family life and compared having a baby as starting a new venture. You can only focus at one thing at a time.


That is something I am scared of. Passionate people. We can move mountain for a cause. Be one step ahead to motivate other, always go the extra mile. You still have to learn to control your passion. You can not go too fast and leave anyone else behind. You have to be patient, give people time to catch up with your passion, because alone you will never do anything great.

But it is hard, because passionate people are impatient, very impatient. You want everything now. You want people to be as passionate as you, but it takes time.

When my friend Jonathan started the Beijing Improv Group in Beijing, he leads a free open workshop to educate the community about improve every Wednesday. Every Wednesday for about 2 years, he was the sole trainer to lead the workshop. There were other actors in the improve group, but other guys were too busy, could commit to lead a workshop for free. Even though they loved improve too. He was the only one to have enough passion to do it, and he didn't give up. He didn't say ???If I am the only to think it worth it than screw you???. No he kept doing it, and slowly people committed one by one. 5 years after the creation of the group, the Wednesday workshop is today rolling with several improviser taking the lead in turn, and Jonathan can focus on his other projects and still enjoy the joy of improve.

You have to be patient with others.


So to cope with this burning passion and the fact that other are not as fast as you, you have a top 5 list of passion. When one of your passion is getting stuck, you have to be patient, you switch the other one for a moment and make as much progress as possible in this one. If it get stuck again, switch! I have a few (3-4) projects that passionate me. And I fear the day I will fall in love and forget about them. I wonder how other entrepreneurs do. It seems to me that some one them are able to find someone who is okay to not be their priority number one (as long as their priority number one is a cause, not another person). Others switch their passion.

Steve Job never switch his passion but neglected his family life. He impacted so many people…but really on a small scale. I am very happy to listen my music on my ipod in my commute everyday. But really if it didn't exist I would have been worse. I would realize it. But when you focus on your family, you impact a lot a few people (your wife and kids). And they will feel the miss the day you disappear.


I remember a funy part of David Allen training ???Getting things done???. He said you have to have priority and be aware of them, take this decision consciously. And it is your choice, you choose what you want to prioritize. So it can happen that parents one day said to their kids at the dinner table:

??? Kids, we had a talk with your mother yesterday and we decided to be average parents.???

It sounds funny but that???s the choice many parents do when they decide to work over-time and miss their children school show. They just do express it clearly in their head and out loud.


You have to choose what you want to do with your passion: would you rather impact millions of people???s life a little OR impact considerably the life of a few close one.

About Carole (code name 烤肉)

I work in tech since 2008, moved from Reunion island to Paris, Beijing, San Francisco and ended up in Berlin in 2014.
This entry was posted in Personal Experience, Values. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Love, Family or Others..Where would you choose to focus your passion?

  1. Anonymous says:

    Carole, don’t you think that the best impact you can have on the world is to raise a family and transmit your values to your children ? Also, don’t you think that your lifepartner will be, and moreover, will have to be an help to reach your dreams?And finally, don’t you think that when you will meet the right people, your dreams won’t disappear but will become bigger and more georgeous?

  2. Anonymous says:

    @madeikalam, thanks for your comment and sharing your views. Really appreciate :-)I think raising a family and transmitting your value is already a great impact you can have on the world. it is the deep but quantitatively limited impact I am talking about. Now I dont know if it is the best. Maybe by transmitting the right values to your children they will grow up to change the world. But for me – no offense- I feel like this is the minimum you could do. transmit the right value not only to your children but any close person around you. Not the world is not perfect because different person have different definition of what is right. Another story.Ideally your lifepartner help you reach your dreams. But I dont think it is their first job. Their first job is to make you feel good so you can help yourself to reach your dream. Maybe they help you by not making your life harder. I like the saying "why living if it is not to make other’s life a little more enjoyable". I guess it is even more true towards your lifepartner.Finally I guess you are right, when you meet the right person -and not only romance-wise, just generally someone who will matter in your life- your dreams dont disappear, they just morph. If it is a right person they become bigger (meaning with bigger impact) maybe what I fear is to not realize it is not the right person and to let someone change my dreams into smaller dreams, and making me think that they are enough. Some people will argue that i can be a good thing. Sometimes you think too big, put too much pressure on yourself and set yourself up for failure. I wanna believe that this scenario is only true if you set up non-realistic deadlines…but no dream are too big for a lifetime project.

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