Oct 14 , 2023

Profession is not simply acquiring skills but rather a continuous journey of growth and refinement. Passion is the gateway to unlocking true potential and ultimately achieving mastery, writes Bereket Balcha, who works in the aviation industry and is passionate about fiction writing. He can be reached at bbalcha5@yahoo.com

I had breakfast at my favourite Syrian restaurant near Jakros last weekend -stewed beans with eggs and yoghurt garnished with green pepper and onion a.k.a. Ful.

Although I have had the same dish in multiple eateries before the tantalising aroma and distinct taste left me in awe of whether the chef used a secret recipe or common ingredients locally available.

It was a poignant reminder that mastery requires passion apart from the right skill.

My encounter with two dentists for a tooth removal a few years ago laments that despite similar education, how well the job is done should be measured by the professionalism that radiates from passion.

A visit to the first one turned into a harrowing experience for me. It began with signs of an unpleasant consterned face upon my entrance annoyed his newspaper reading time was cut short. He was mumbling things that showed he was not in a good mood as the nurses prepared the anaesthesia.

Meanwhile, the surgical flood light was brought to my gaping mouth. The nurses fumbled to accommodate his whims by retracting my bed and rearranging my lying pose.

Suddenly he gripped the aching tooth with pincers and unceremoniously removed it in one violent shudder that seemed to have knocked my head off without giving the procedural area enough time to numb. I was reeling from the excruciating pain all the while the dentist excused himself with the paper in hand. The nurses dressed my gums, which were bleeding profusely and tried to comfort me by assuring it was over.

As a rookie to the tooth removal scene, I presumed it was a standard procedure. I left the clinic traumatised, vowing never to return. But I needed to have another one removed due to infections a few weeks later. I tried to ignore the pain and postpone until such time it was impossible and I reluctantly visited a different clinic nearby.

It was a stark contrast that made me suspicious at first. I was treated by a gentle and compassionate dentist who carefully explained the procedure and reassured me that he would do everything possible to address my discomfort. He made small talk to distract me from the anxiety that had been building up from past trauma while making sure the gum was numb.

Everything was done within a few minutes at a tolerable pain threshold, unlike the horrendous experience I had previously encountered. I could not help but notice the genuine empathy in his voice as he politely saw me off with his contact number in the event of any concerns.

In the realm of any profession, passion is crucial.

Regrettably, many are in a profession for the money as a means to an end. It is a way to earn a paycheck and sustain their lifestyle. This lack of passion often reflects in their work, leading to sloppy execution and a general disinterest in providing quality service.

It is a pity that so many individuals are stuck in careers that do not align with their true desires. It affects not only their fulfilment but also the experiences of those who rely on their expertise. In the end, the result is a disservice to the profession, frustration to service recipients and degradation of service levels.

Although a complex interplay of factors shapes our preferences, being a master of one's craft is an exceptional trait which requires a continuous journey of growth and refinement.

I know many craftsmen and service providers who have mastered their value proposition. These people value their reputation above anything. They lose sleep to correct the slightest flaw despite the customers' failure to see while honing and perfecting their skills with feedback.

In an earnest discourse recently, one such musician known for his impeccable career spanning several decades and world-class fame told me that he had faced a colossal dilemma at a young age between taking the next flight abroad for further studies or following his calling to music.

Much to the frustration of his parents, who, in the best of intentions, wished otherwise, he chose to follow passion.

The man in question is the renowned father of EthioJazz For Mulatu Astatkie. For him, there was no turning back and he never failed to emphasise the importance of people following what they are inclined to do.

Fast forward half a century later, he had a sparkle in his eyes when he told me that he did not regret his choice a bit.

It is a blot to take up a profession and carelessly fall short of its expectations, like making a parody of a respectable work of poetry. In my discussion with Mulatu, we cited various personal anecdotes in which people languish in fields of study or jobs for which they have no passion.

The difference between trash and treasure is the amount of effort, expertise and resources invested. It takes meticulous dedication and energy to convert seemingly unusable and worthless objects into precious substances.

Like the amount of time needed to refine the mineral ore into precious jewellery, mastering a profession needs time and effort. Just like the Ful I had for breakfast had the perfect amount of spices to enhance its flavour, applying life experiences and knowledge in the right way creates desired outcomes.

It is real food for thought whether we are doing what our heart yearns to do or not. As the famous line in Shakespeare's play, Hamlet says, "To be or not to be, that is the question." The choice is to follow the heart's passion or ignore it and pursue a mundane rat race.

PUBLISHED ON Oct 14,2023 [ VOL 24 , NO 1224]

Bereket Balcha works in the aviation industry and is passionate about fiction writing and can be reached at (bbalcha5@yahoo.com)

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