Sunday, March 20, 2016

My refugee parents inspired me to take risks and be an entrepreneur

Nelson Sivalingam
From Businesszone
In the early eighties, a young Sri Lankan man in his 30s reluctantly fled his home leaving behind his newly-wedded wife and his four-year-old son. Uprooted from all he knew and anxious of all that lay ahead he arrived at the borders of the UK. This man is my father. The young woman left to care for their child, in a country imploding from civil war, with dreams of joining her husband for a better life - is my mother.

This is the beginning of most refugee stories with only the details of where, when and who changing as history repeats itself. It is this risk that my parents took that would change their generation and mine forever. No risk I have taken until now and no risk I can see myself taking in the foreseeable future has stakes as high as the decision my parents took - and this is probably true of most of you reading this. This raises the question as to whether we are making the most of the opportunity we’ve been given.

Most of us are living a life that could have been predicted for us on the day we were born. School at five, university at 18, a job for life straight after that, followed by marriage, kids and then work till we get our pension. How many of us have milestones in our life that are different to those? Are we really making full use of free will and the opportunity we’ve been given if we’re living a life that could have been mapped out for us? Whether you’re an accountant or a solicitor, thanks to someone’s decision that it takes eight hours a day to do every job in the world, your life has become just as predictable as a bad movie.

Sheltered and secure in our comfort zone, we’re becoming a generation soaked in apathy. We have a false sense of safety in doing the same thing over and over again, not interacting with anything outside of our circle of comfort. But, if there is one thing the world repeatedly teaches us, it is that change is inevitable. The sooner we acknowledge it and appreciate it the more constructively we will respond when we are surprised. If we spend our life playing it safe, no one will ever know who we are. Even worse, we won’t get a chance to find out who we really are.

My parents took a risk when their worst case scenario was losing everything they had and years of their life - for most of us the worst case scenario is nowhere near as bad. It is this that gave me the courage to start my own business and to build a business that would help others to explore and share their passions.

Wonderush is a marketplace for classes and experiences hosted by passionate locals. You might be an accountant with a penchant for painting, a barista who hula hoops on the side, or maybe you work in sales and have colleagues queuing up for your cupcakes. Or it could be something totally different. Whatever your hobby, we connect you with curious people who want to try something new – and help you turn your passion into profit.

So go forth and take a risk and live a little. If there is something you love doing on the side, go do it more. Break your routine because living life in repeat gives you no opportunity to grow. Whether it’s developing a new perspective or learning a new thing about yourself, it doesn’t happen without you taking a new action, putting yourself in a moment that is new to you and challenging yourself beyond what you know.

Once you’re stuck in the daily rut of nine-to-five work it’s not easy to find this opportunity and that is what inspired Wonderush. The shadow of uncertainty is inevitable, but it is also part of the beauty of life. It’s incredible how easily people put off the things they really want to be doing. How many times have you heard your friends say I really want to do X but I’ll do it after doing Y for five years even though I hate it? Not only are you taking those five years for granted but it shows a complete disregard for the value of your own time.

Life is too short to be doing stuff that doesn’t matter. Whether you want to cut down your hours to spend time with your family, take a sabbatical to travel the world and write that book, try your hand at starting a business or just take time out to find out what you actually love doing, take that risk. At the very least, whether the risk pays off or not, your life will make a better movie.

No comments:

Post a Comment