The Unapologetic Pursuit Of Multiple Passions | Nkateko Masinga | TEDxPretoria


Translator: Leonardo Silva
Reviewer: Cristina Bufi-Pöcksteiner Remember the first time
you were ever asked the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” If you started rambling on
about ten different career options, I’m pretty sure you were told, “Don’t worry about it.
You’ll figure it out, eventually.” The problem is we create an intricate link
between occupation and identity, and we call it confusion and uncertainty when someone doesn’t have
that one aspiration that they’re completely sold on. I used to be that person. When asked the question
of what I wanted to be, I would say, “A pharmacist,”
or, “A physiotherapist.” It’s not that I really knew
what these titles meant, but being in and out of hospital
because of childhood asthma meant that I heard these words a lot
and I associated them with helping people, and that’s something I knew
I definitely wanted to do. Eventually, when I could pronounce
the word “pediatrician,” I decided that’s what I wanted to be, a specialist in childhood diseases. So, eight years ago, when my father
sat me down and asked me if I was going to start working
immediately after high school or if I was going to study further, I knew that it was the latter. I was going to medical school. Getting accepted into medical school
came with great joy. I worked hard. After my first year,
my efforts were rewarded with an invitation to join the
Golden Key International Honour Society, because I was in the top 15%
of my class, academically. I was very excited. Three years later,
I was burnt-out and disillusioned. I wanted a way out. I felt that there was a gap between
the theoretical aspects of medicine and the practical work that we were
expected to do in the hospital. And I was struggling to bridge this gap. I didn’t quite know
how to express how I felt. So, I found comfort in writing. In my fourth year of medical school,
my first poetry collection was published. Two years later, I had three books,
a publishing consultancy firm and a career as a spoken-word artist
and theater actress. (Applause) All of this while still pursuing
a career in medicine. But how did I do this? Well, I’m going to share
with you the three ways in which I fully embraced
my multiple passions. The first thing that I did:
I made time for the things that I loved. Lao Tzu said, “Time is a created thing, and to say ‘I don’t have time’ is the equivalent of saying
‘I don’t want to’.” So, I became a juggler, I ran marathons, I entered beauty pageants, I attended spoken-word sessions. I auditioned for plays. And with all of this juggling, some balls stayed in the air,
some fell to the ground, but all of those taught me very,
very important lessons about myself. The second thing that I did: I found out where I was replaceable. In my fifth year of medical school, I contracted pneumonia
from one of my patients. I became very ill. But getting time off
was almost impossible. So, I made a conscious decision
to step away and focus on my healing. I knew that I couldn’t be
everywhere, at once. So, I decided to find out
what demanded my immediate attention and focus on that. The third thing that I did:
I became unapologetic. Grace Hopper said, “It is better to ask for forgiveness
than to get permission.” So, I asked myself, “Should I ask for permission
to do the things that I want to do, be told that they’re impossible and then be miserable
for the rest of my life? Or should I just dive head first
into what I really love, and then find out later
if it works out or not?” I chose the latter
and I have never looked back. So, let me ask you this. If you could go back in time
and be asked the question, “What do you want to be
when you grow up,” what would the answer be, this time? And why not everything? (Applause)

13 thoughts on “The Unapologetic Pursuit Of Multiple Passions | Nkateko Masinga | TEDxPretoria

  1. Yassssss!!! Masinga!! Zihaswha! When the sis be doing the most. 😍❤

  2. Waouh!!!! This is so inspiring… and definitely my vision of life.
    Bravo for this confidence and adventurous feeling that you inspire

  3. I am a 1st year Medical Student and i have just watch you video and i can say i'm truly inspired to spread my wing to where at first i didn't think of. Your video Dr Nkateko really opened my eyes, Thanks………in no time i will be your colleague.

  4. Icon. Love this 😀
    Btw i want to be a magician, graphic artist and musician haha

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