By Kakajan Haytlyyev

I was driving around 7 PM and the radio was on. I usually jump from channel to channel but this time my attention was drawn to a radio program broadcasted by TRAXX RM whereby presenters asked what is the most important, passion or salary. Naturally, there was a number of calls as TRAXX FM is one of the leading English-language radio stations in Malaysia.

In response, people mostly said that passion is the most important. At least it was the case while I was driving. However, once presenters challenged them, some of these callers were clearly not well prepared to defend their point of view.

Nothing is wrong with it. After all, it was not the choice between life and death. I would say more, a couple of years ago, I would be just as confused. It happens quite often because most of us think that the subject matter is very clear to us, however, when confronted the clarity somehow vaporises in a blink of an eye. Been there, done that 😊

The good news for me is that recently I have realised one thing. Since my name is not Sophie, I don’t have to choose all the time. Moreover, not every question would require a “black or white” answer. In my view, there are two reasons for it.

First, we need many different things in our daily life. These things are not necessarily comparable. For example, if someone would ask me what would I choose, bread or ten carats diamond, I would give few answers and link each of them to specific circumstances.

If I am poor, but not poor enough to starve, I would choose the diamond. If I am rich but missed the taste of bread that I tried when I was a child, I would choose bread. But if I belong to a middle class, I will take both. And finally, if I am a refugee I would choose bread. Because what am I supposed to do with this expensive rock if I am physically exhausted and starving beyond beliefs.

Second, besides material things or food, we also need to take care of our spiritual side. Therefore, we need books, magazines, theatres, movies, beautifully designed environment, or just small talk with our loved ones.

In fact, sometimes we understand it too late that “small talk” with loved ones is bigger that the biggest mansion or a bank account. So, how are we supposed to choose what is the most important? Unless, of course, certain circumstances take place and force us to set our priorities in line with the reality. But because most of us live relatively normal life, in my opinion, TRAXX FM’s question does not have a definitive answer as far as priorities are concerned.

I think that passion and salary are tightly interconnected. In today’s world, this interdependence is stronger than ever. It is not possible to decide which one is the most important without knowing the nature of circumstances under which we are faced with the requirement to make a choice.

I suspect that the reason most callers chose “passion” is that we naturally want to make the right choice. But as funny as it is, the “right” answer is not always right because we do not live in a bubble. And when I say “bubble” I do not mean financial bubbles which burst time to time. I am talking about societies and reality within which we exist.

If I am asked this question, I would say that for me the most important is the balance. When there is no balance, happiness will migrate somewhere else even if the salary is huge. It will happen, sooner or later, because nobody is able to stay happy when there is little willingness to do the job.

Same goes about passion. If we have passion but no money, the headache caused by the details of the daily life will eventually reduce it to ash. Because there is nothing romantic about poverty. It humiliates a person and suppresses his or her dreams to the extent that the person finally stops believing that there is such thing as a dream.

But most importantly, the sense of unfairness and lack of justice that poverty creates most likely would terminate self-respect. Without self-respect, it would be the end of the conversation.

I guess this is my long version of trying to say that we shall keep in mind that whatever we do, it is important to ensure that the balance is observed.

Nothing exists on its own, everything is interconnected. The ability to find the balance is very important not only for a process of making business decisions but our choices in life too. When we make a mistake and balance is disturbed, it may trigger a chain reaction which would lead to something very destructive. Be it the world of big politics or someone’s personal life.