Hi guys ever since we posted an update about our TEDx Talk on Instagram and Facebook, we’ve been flooded with messages about it. It was a closed event, so we thought we’d write down our talk just for you. This is best enjoyed when you have 10-15 quiet minutes for yourself. Grab a coffee or a bucket of pop corn – here you go 🙂
The Nouveau Ambition : The life-changing consequences of cultivating happiness and contentment
Last month, while sitting in a café in Bali, a Polish girl handed me a book after a long conversation about Love and Life. As I opened it I saw a sentence highlighted in neon pink, which summed up our hour-long conversation in just a line
“Don’t be pushed around by the fears in your mind. Be LED by the dreams in your heart”
Here’s how life usually goes – we educate ourselves, get a job, and gradually get sucked into a routine. Despite nascent dreams we continue to live our lives, grumbling about our jobs but turning up at office everyday in order to pay for a bigger car or a better house. Both ambition and success, we’re repeatedly told, are measured only in terms of career progression or the amount of money one earns. Over the years, this acquires the status of a ‘fact’ or a ‘truth’ through a series of reiterations – by parents, teachers, society, friends – you name it
But we decided to UNlearn all this. Why? Because at the ripe old age of 30 we had a revelation – cultivating happiness and contentment was doing strange things to us. We found the stresses of daily life distance themselves from us. While our friends were grumbling about the unease of 16 hour work days and strained backs, we found ourselves staying happy, smiling a lot – perhaps a bit too much, and wanting to pelt our inner circle with love all the time.
What one needs to become an entrepreneur and marry passion with a financial model
Now before you start dismissing this as some hippie sorcery or questioning us about which magic pill we’ve stumbled upon, let me add a disclaimer or two.
Firstly I am in no way saying money isn’t important. Money pays bills. Money ensures a seamless life. It is very important but it doesn’t HAVE to be the be all and end all of one’s life. Secondly it is possible to marry one’s dreams and financial stability.
Of course this isn’t easy. It takes more hard work, patience, and persistence than you can possibly imagine. Take our example. A few years ago, both of us were in well-settled in London. I worked in a corporate job and Savi was completing her PhD. By the time we were 30, we had achieved what we set out to achieve both education and job wise. We had well-paying jobs and a traditionally secure future ahead of us. But after exploring 50 odd countries, we found ourselves falling more and more in love with the idea of travelling the world. Then, we quit our jobs, and with it, our life in London, to travel the world full time. After all. you get one life and the two of us wanted to enjoy every single sumptuous second of it.
Of course this was not a whimsical decision. It was part of a larger plan to hone our lives the way WE wanted them to be. While dreaming is essential, putting in the effort to make that dream a reality is even more essential. We saved for 8 years towards a travel fund and for 3 years prior to quitting our jobs, we had decided to start exploiting our skill-set so we could earn an income on the road when we started travelling full time
For us the choice was clear – we knew we had to put Savi’s background in literature and creative writing, my love for photography, and our common passion for travel together to generate travel-related content we thought the internet needed – content we were proud of! Every evening we would come back from our jobs and start working on our passion project.
We worked 20 hour days to set up a website and learnt the basics of digital marketing. Hundreds of thousands of hours were spent garnering a readership on social media and our website. It’s been a steep learning curve and we’ve learnt many lessons along the way. We’ve learnt that building an online business takes much more effort than we thought. Sustaining it takes rigorous discipline and motivation. But it also brings with it rewards – we’ve had the opportunity to work with brands we’ve loved and used for years such as Citi, HP, Hyatt Hotels, and Go Pro and our story has been featured on BBC, Discovery Channel, CNN, Cosmopolitan, and TED, so it’s all worth it. Bruised Passports is 5 years old and right now, believe it or not, we work longer hours than we used to in our jobs. But if you work is your passion, it doesn’t feel like work at all
Financial stability is great but we want more from life
Having established the importance of a stable model of income and hopefully given you some inspiration to achieve it in unconventional ways as well, let me come back to the original topic of this conversation and also the most asked question of us in real life, on social media, and on our website. Why do we smile so much?
The truth is it’s neither a secret nor a magic pill. It’s a CONSCIOUS lifestyle choice that we’ve chosen to make over the past few years and you can too. Some call it The Law of Attraction but it is simply the realisation “you BECOME what you think” 😊🤗
Let’s start with the obvious. Despite what social media might portray, nobody’s life is perfect and there are lots of niggles, ranging from mundane to severe, that everyone has to face. But you can choose to tackle them one way or the other.
We live in an age where it is easy to be sucked into negativity. We have all had to face this at some point of our lives. But here’s what we say try ridding yourself of ALL negative thoughts for once. Jealousies, grudges, toxic people, and negativity belong in the bin. This isn’t an overnight change but a gradual process.
But you will be SO much more creative if you have a happy mind full of positive thoughts. Instead of spewing venom, being envious, or thinking negatively about others, concentrate on working hard to be financially independent while realising you dreams, however crazy those dreams might sound to other people.
This is what we learnt from our journey – as we started to purge negativity from our lives, and got more and more passionate about creating high quality content, things that used to niggle us, didn’t anymore. This nouveau entrepreneurship which focuses on generating an income and cultivating happiness comes with one condition – you need to stop judging others and encouraging negativity. This is YOUR journey – prioritise happiness, contentment, and those people in your life who love you as much as you love them.
Consciously Cultivating happiness and contentment
Make a conscious decision to pursue this on getting up every single day. Once you have purged negativity from your life, it is time to start cultivating happiness and contentment. We do this in a variety of ways and so can you
- Take joy in the small things whether that is a home-cooked meal, a starry night, or the season’s first snowfall.
- Work towards causes you are passionate about – for us that is kids’ education and womens’ empowerment
- Recognise the perfect in the imperfect. In life, as in travel, NOTHING is ever perfect. But looking at the glass half full, instead of half empty will change your life!
- Concentrate Having a beautiful soul and empowering the people around you (be it friends, family, or co-workers) instead of bringing them down. And that is ALL you need for happiness and successes to come your way.
To sum it all up, Ambition is actually a heterogeneous concept. To some people it means being at the top rung of a corporate firm, to others it means being a millionaire. And there’s nothing wrong with that! But ambition can also mean MANY other things. A peaceful life, a happy life, and most importantly a content life. That is the ambition that drives us. I’m going to wrap this up with a little quote from the same book (Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart) I was handed in Bali:
“Happiness is a choice. Optimism is a choice. Kindness is a choice. Whatever choice you make makes you. Choose wisely”
Want to read more about us? Read ALL our personal articles here
Want to listen to more? Check out our interview with All India Radio where we talk about our life, philosophies, and how you can travel (Just click the play button near the top left 🙂 )