The usual adult life is as follows: wake up, go to work, back home to rest, wake up again.., go to work again…, back home to rest… and this goes on and on and on.

What’s the meaning of life? This seems to be the question most asked by the Gen Y generation. Interestingly, this is also a very popular question during ‘the mid life crisis’ period.

To some, life begins upon retirement and others, well…. ‘having a life’ is merely a statement thrown around rather than reality.

Having the privilege of encountering people from various nationalities, industries and background, I would have to say that what makes life worth the living is passion.


One of the more interesting definitions given by Webster’s online dictionary for passion is suffering. This brings to the understanding that one is willing to endure suffering in order to fulfil/ satisfy their passion.

Very so often we come across people who would say ‘I am passionate to help the poor’. When asked what have they done about it, some interesting answers would be ‘let me accumulate enough wealth first’, ‘I simply don’t have the time because of work’ or simply… ‘no poor people asked me for help’. Does this sound familiar? At times I suspect we love the idea of it rather than the idea itself.

How then does one differentiate passion from just ‘expressing desire’? If we were to put it in a mathematical formula;

Desire +Action = Passion

Because we are all so uniquely different, the actions taken by different individual may differ significantly in achieving similar passion.

For example, when someone says ‘I am passionate to help the poor’, person A works hard to gain wealth and contribute towards the cause, person B would volunteer time and  work with an organization that reached the poor while person C would simply go about seeking out poor people and taking them out for a simple meal.


Over the years we have systematically either consciously or unconsciously chip away passion from our lives. Why? For the pragmatic reason of not wanting to get hurt or disappointed emotionally or physically. It is like saying “If you don’t want to get hurt, don’t love”

Though the intent is good but the long term effect is a generation of ‘human robots’. I am not disclaiming the importance of rational and pragmatic judgement, rather highlighting how passion armoured with the right skills and knowledge will produce superior results and greater satisfaction.

When was the last time you achieved something that you are not passionate about? Was the satisfaction level ‘out of this world’? Food for thoughts…

So next time when someone aspire to reach the sky, hold back the thought of ‘this is ridiculous’ because Man has walked the moon.

For the pragmatics, here’s the consideration, if skills and knowledge can be easily replicated, wouldn’t passion be the competitive edge since it tends to be unique?


Suffice to say that we act based on our own motivation, not motivation of someone elses. The reason why we find ourselves motivated from a motivational seminar is because the speaker was able to surface our own motivation. This is why not everyone who attends motivational seminars is motivated.

If our value system is like a compass to our vehicle, allow me to suggest that passion is the fuel. Without passion it is like a vehicle running on an empty tank. The vehicle can still reach its destination but probably with the help of a tow truck. Interestingly, does this also mean we need to constantly fuel up our passion? I believe we do because there’s just too many distractions in life and just like how soil loses its nutrient with every batch of produce, if we don’t add nutrient to it, the quality of the next batch would deteriorate systematically.

So how do we fuel up? The simplest and most effective way in my opinion is by recalling those achievement and memorable times when we tasted the fruit of passion. This is probably why pictures and video are very powerful tools.

When was the last time you wanted to do something meaningful for yourself and held back because of many ‘legitimate’ reasons, why not fuel up now and press on?


Rather than looking for something ‘out there’, let’s start by visiting the place where we spend most of our adult life at, our workplace. What differentiates a job from a career? In a manner of tongue in check, a job is when a person goes to work and looks at the clock every now and then hoping it is time to go back. A career is when a person goes to work to accomplish something meaningful only to realize that time has passed.

How does one have passion in their work if the work is merely to fulfil the bosses’ objective? Once you identify your passion, simply ask yourself how would you achieve it? Would it require you to designate certain days at ‘no overtime’ days or saying ‘not today’ for some of your regular group lunches? I have the opportunity to meet some people who had the courage to talk with their superior about their goal to fulfil their passion and were pleasantly surprised that their superior are supportive of their intentions and got them to draft a plan how the organization could make it possible. Go ahead, try it, your superior may be nicer than you think *smiles*

For some of us, achieving our passion may not seem possible in the current environment. This is perhaps because the environment is not supportive of our ‘mission’.  In such situations, if all avenues have been exhausted, perhaps a change of environment, either internally or externally would be a more positive push forward.

Ultimately, infusing or creating a link between our passion and our work not only makes us a more productive worker, it makes us a happier and satisfied person. Not only will this give meaning to what we do, it gives meaning to life in a broader sense even while we are at work.

Now… with this aspiration, when will your life begin?


The Adult Learner



                                                                                                                            The Adult Learner
                                                                                                                              by Isaac Peter
                                                                                           “People don’t mind changing, they mind being changed”
                                                                                                                    Peter Senge, The 5th Discpline.

Peter Senge, an idealistic pragmatist, is a highly respected individual who has impacted the business community by the way they conduct their businesses.

His insight gives us a glimpse into the soul of the human being, where lies the desire to better oneself through the change they are willing to make on their own.

Therefore, as individuals involved in the personal and career development of others, it is our challenge to understand the learner and make them own their discovery journey.


In this writing, I would define adult as a stage of life where one is self-supporting. This would mean that the individual is responsible for his finance, well being and decision-making.

Learning is the process in which an individual acquires knowledge and information. The learning process is not rigid. It comes in the form of observation and reflection, structured learning, life experiences as well as a combination of the various forms.

Therefore an adult learner is one who seeks to improve by engaging in the learning process to meet a specific need in his current and foreseeable life in a conscious manner.

The following fundamentals would go a long way in making the learning process a positive experience.

Treat adults as adults.
As adults, we are constantly challenged to balance our resource of time. We expect people to respect our time, a qualified and knowledgeable trainer as well as some degree of challenges (difficulty) in the learning process. These challenges are meant to motivate the adult learner. A good analogy concerning level of challenge is a person riding a bicycle over a hilltop. The uphill is the challenge and the learner knows the reward is the thrilling downhill acceleration.

Adult wants choices.
Adults make their own decision and because of this, almost always the learning journey is their choice. In the context of a training program, by attending the program, they have indicated their choice to learn from you. In an alternative context, one may ‘force’ an adult to learn but if the learner choose to ‘close their mind’ to the knowledge you are imparting, then like a closed bottle, no water will be able to fill that bottle.

Adult focus on relevance
An adult learner knows what they want and what they need, it is important to address this need in order to get them focused. Remember, since it is their choice to learn, they would only want to learn relevant knowledge pertaining to their short term needs as well as to their long term goal of career development.

Adult have background and experience
One can disagree with information but never an experience because every experience is valid and real to the individual because it is personal. An adult uses these experiences like a compass to navigate in a sea of information picking up relevant information that can be used to build upon their experiences.

Adult requires variety
Studies have shown that an adult’s attention span is at most 20-22 minutes. Once the learning experience exceeds this time frame, look around to see if some of the adults are doing other things such as doodling on their note pads, looking at their notebook, chatting with others.
If the learning content is more than this time, interrupt the learning process by doing some other activity or take a short break. This should help to reset the adult’s system to absorb more.

Adult are generally GREGARIOUS
Contrary to popular belief that adult are boring and ‘sedated’ people, adult are more often than not, an active bunch of people and love activities of varying sort, listening to stories, group discussion, good humour, etc.

Adult wants to know who’s in charge
As much as we hear people expressing their dissatisfaction with authorities, in any given situation they would be the first to utter ‘Who’s in charge’. This gives an insight to the fact that the adult learner wants to know that there’s always a captain on board the ship though they might not like the route taken, they know they will get to their destination.