“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
These wise words from the great thinker Confucius assures us of a lifetime of bliss if the right choice is made at the right time. But choices are seldom easy. Even more difficult are those which have the power and potential to change the course of an individual’s life, like a career path for a student. Today, one might find it foolhardy to aspire for job satisfaction and happiness in times of soaring unemployment and cut-throat competition. It could mean setting aside practical and monetary goals for something they care deeply about and relinquishing a stable future for temporary pleasure. It’s a tough choice between success and stability and freedom and happiness. But it is worth it!
Happiness and success means different things to different people. For many, wealth, fame and status translates into success and that’s the ultimate goal of life. Bob Dylan dismissed money as the motive behind a man’s success, and had a simple proposition. He said, “A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do.” Albert Einstein, who claimed he never had any special talents, attributed his success to his ‘passionately curious’ nature.
They ‘followed their heart,’ and both enjoyed tremendous success in what they did. But the path is fraught with uncertainties, because unlike the brain that thinks and analyses, the heart is emotional. It doesn’t adhere to logic, can make the most ridiculous choices and take you on a whimsical journey. And while there’s certainly no assurance what the final outcome would be, one thing is for sure, it guarantees an incredible journey, and if that’s the ride you’re seeking, you aren’t alone. Today, many organizations recognize the fact that employees who follow their passion, enjoy their job, stay motivated and are happy and more productive. They encourage people to take up occupations that give them the scope to do what they enjoy.
Making a professional choice might be purely an individual and personal one, but it helps to make you see what could be obscured while making an emotional decision. Close friends and family will be able to offer realistic and logical advice. Even your parents who have tucked you into bed as you dreamed of being an astronaut, and watched you wake up next morning wanting to play football for the rest of your life. They’re familiar with your work ethics, your weaknesses and where you need to step up. So value their honest feedback and suggestions and work on it. It will help you make a better career choice.
But before deciding upon which job is best suited for you, first, you must have a clear sense of what you really enjoy doing and if your passion is going to last lifelong. It can be confusing to choose which one to pursue from the array of things you enjoy doing. To narrow that down, go back in time to when you were a child, and recall the things that came to you naturally. What made you want to wake up the next morning? Activities that you could do all day without tiring. Those you found time for despite your hectic schedule. There’s a good chance you will come up with the right answer.
Second, can your passion be monetized and developed further into a viable business venture. Does it have scope to grow and earn you profit? If not an entrepreneur, do you have the necessary skills and knowledge that will make you more employable and help you compete with those in the same field? Thirdly, while following the heart sounds super exciting, doing what you love must also be something you deeply care about too. You must ensure a job not only gives happiness, but also helps you find purpose and meaning in life.
The benefits of following your heart are countless. It allows you to work alongside like-minded people, doing a job you’re good at. You’re also less likely to find it monotonous even when it’s repetitive. With this formula for happiness, parents could well consider advising them to choose their passion, when children seek their guidance in deciding upon a future career path. In a recent article published by Time, clinical neuropsychologist William Stixrud and Ned Johnson, founder of PrepMatters, felt that children are being misled and getting a wrong message about what construes happiness when they believed getting into a good college would make them happy.
This was based upon the popular notion that academic success leads to a good job, which brings financial security and therefore happiness. While parents prioritize education to empower their child’s job prospects and regard university life as a base to ensure future happiness, more and more research emerges that challenges this notion. It becomes pronounced that strong relationships, sense of purpose in life, gratitude, leisure apart from other undermined factors are the real predictors of happiness in life.
It comes as no surprise then that studies have documented elevated levels of loneliness and depression among adolescents resulting in a decline in their psychological well-being when these predictors are underplayed. For life is too short to waste on doing something you do not enjoy. So don’t hesitate to follow your heart and find happiness in doing what you love.