When I was growing up, I was lovingly led to believe the only people who enjoyed life were doctors, lawyers and engineers. There was no malice in this — the belief was passed on by parents who loved me and a school system that rigidly believed in academic excellence.
My learned belief was not unique. Many cultures and societies believe that medical, legal and engineering degrees are passports to financial success and happiness.
I have since learned such rigid formulae for success do not always hold true. Traditional professions do not guarantee financial success or happiness. Not everyone is meant to be a doctor, lawyer or engineer.
You may have chosen a profession based on incomplete, inaccurate or biased information. You get on with life and ignore that niggling feeling that you are doing it for the money or to please someone.
Along the way there are a few minutes of clarity when you identify exactly what you are meant to do in life: a bolt of lightning, followed by elation. If it has not yet happened, keep looking. It is the job you would do if you did not have to pay the mortgage, pay the school fees or please anyone. If the clarity has come to you, concentrate; close your eyes, remember. Go on, I dare you.
We humans are funny. We develop a concept of self from a young age based on how people relate with us and our perceptions of that interaction. We form an idea of how we should be. If who we think we should be is mismatched with who we know we are on the inside, we tend to ignore our own instincts. We fight what is natural to us — all for some ideal.
Psychologically, it is because the unconscious mind is more powerful than anyone gives it credit for. Despite our intentions to do what we think is right based on ideals and norms, our deepest desires always win. So why fight it?
A word of caution: if anyone tells you to chuck it all in and set up shop, do not listen. Change and transition takes planning, patience and support. There are many lessons to learn along the journey to your success and happiness. Getting rid of personal barriers, unhelpful beliefs and dealing with the potential disapproval of those who do not like the positive changes in you, are only a few.
I broke the mould of the holy trio of medicine, law and engineering — I did a commerce degree and specialised in accounting. Even still, this was not my true calling and I knew it. I wanted to study psychology and work in media. To help satisfy my urges, during my accounting career, I developed my communication, presentation and leadership skills. I focussed on areas such as human behaviour and interpretation of abstract concepts. Despite having taken a detour, by focusing on the areas I enjoyed and working on my strengths, I eventually turned my passions into my profession.
So what about you? What passions do you want to turn into your profession? Write it down and see what happens.
TOP IMAGE: Via Pixabay