Last week, I wrote about how the idea of “passion” can overwhelm us into unrealistic future prospects. I actually got some good feedback from readers, which leads me to believe that I am certainly not the only one with this experience.
But if you’re a high school student – or otherwise at the threshold of choosing a career – you might wonder, WHERE DOES THAT LEAVE ME? If you have been told your whole life that you need simply to do what you love (and you’ll “never work a day in your life”, yada yada yada), you might not know HOW else to choose a path forward.
My suggestion? Ye ole’ trusty mindmap.
Many of ours (mine included) may have looked something like this:
When in reality, it probably should have looked something like this:
How do you do it? You combine things you like and dislike, and then you explode them. For me, I needed a career that would never stagnate. One where I could do research if I wanted to, but at the very least one that was constantly changing because of others’ research. I also knew that I loved science, but especially anything pertaining to the human body. I loved reading and writing, but it was important for me to decide whether I wanted that to be part of my career or if I wanted to keep it as a cherished activity for my down-time. I also knew that I wanted to see the world, but had to decided whether it was important for me to do that as a career or to earn enough so that I could travel recreationally.
Of course, it’s a very simplified mindmap, that can be massively more detailed if one were to spend more time on it – and if you’re someone busy with deciding what to do with your future, you should definitely be willing to spend time on your decision.
My point, to reiterate: what you like/love/are “passionate” about is important, but only as a starting point. It should get your mind whirring. It should help you to exclude career options that are totally out of the question. (For example: I was really good at Maths, but I kind of hated it, so a career in Actuarial Sciences was out, out, out.)
And remember: it is highly unlikely that you like only one thing, so being open with yourself about those likes and dislikes will only assist you in identifying more appropriate choices.
There is a lot more to this discussion – including the role of income – so eyes peeled: I’ll be back!