Is your Passion enough for your Career?

download (1)During our last outreach program on the 1st of November, I observed that the kids had questions around their future career options, possibility of combining different careers and were generally quite excited about the talk and games.

Their curiosity and excitement encouraged me to do a little research and make enquiries from people who I consider successful in their chosen careers. I felt it would be a disservice to simply say, “Follow your passion”, especially when that strategy alone had not been entirely true for me. I find it strange that almost everyone says “follow your passion, follow your interests”, yet there seems to be a growing discomfort and un-fulfillment in the work place. It begs the question, Does Passion matter in one’s career? The outcome of my research is, yes Passion matters, but it is not sufficient in itself. I will explain.

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I recently listened to a Ted Talk By Benjamin Todd, CEO and Co-Founder of 80,000 hours and he was of the opinion that each individual had 80,000 hours in their career hence the need to “Do what’s Valuable”. According to him, it has become important that we move beyond this mantra of follow your passion and focus on what we can do for other people and how to make the world a better place

Dear girl, without trying to bore you, what I am trying to say is that no doubt passion is important, however, there are some scenarios where passion matches the work but the individual still does not find fulfilment. What this means is that your interest is not a basis on which to choose a career. When it comes to real career decisions, your interests are just not a decisive factor other things matter much more like what your skills are and what your mindset is. Indeed, we think that our interest matters a lot more than they do because we really underestimate how much they change.

Your interest five years ago will have probably changed compared to what they currently are now and in 5-10 years’ time they will probably change again. Focus on getting good at something that genuinely helps others and makes the world a better place. That is the secret to a fulfilling career. Helping others is a secret to personal fulfillment. What causes people to be truly satisfied and happy in their life is doing what is valuable. Let that be the foundation for any career path you opt for.

Get good at something that makes the world a better place. Do what is valuable. Even if you work as a Doctor, Web Designer etc

If you focus on helping others, most people will want you to succeed. It is much true to say do what is valuable which will lead to passion and subsequently, a fulfilling career. It can be artistic or intellectual such as being a business analyst. Focusing on doing what is valuable will give you clear concrete meaningful goals that will make your life better. There will be no more endless reflections on which of your interests represent my true calling.

What practical steps should you follow?

Explore; Learn all you can about the world and test yourself out on different things: this will include reading, asking questions, developing a creative mind, watching movies and for those who can afford to, Travel. To discover what is valuable, you have to discover what is out there in the world you just cannot figure it out by simply thinking only about your own interests.

Get some skills and get good at them; These should be skills that are in demand and can be used in different areas(Flexible).

Solve a pressing social problem using your skills. Pick one that has been unfairly neglected, you will thrive there. Big social problems can be and often are solved by research, by developing new technology, by spreading big ideas in the art etc.

The key is to work out where your skill can fit in to have the greatest impact.

In conclusion, From the way I see it, Altruism is one thing you will never regret. If you really want to be successful in your own career, you really need to stop focusing on your self-interest and instead ask what you can do for other people.

*Pictures from google

Love and Light

Nkiru

 

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