31 Aug Pursue All of Your Passions –
Explore the Entirety of Your Life’s Work
Are you a doctor, plumber, writer? Are you driven to become one of the best in your field? Have you chosen the one “right” field? When was the last time you ran into someone that said they were a generalist, or had several career paths going at once – o.k.a. Pursing All Passions?
The moment we pick our majors we start going down that first major career path. For most of us, that path continues for most of our lives. Maybe we get tired of it after several years and try something else. We put ourselves in one field, surrounded by those on a similar path, competing to move up the same ladder, trying to at least make a decent living – if we are not focus and committed to the path, we may fall behind.
This trend of breaking everyone up into segmented areas of expertise has been going on for a really long time, so employers continue to perpetuate this model, and the co-dependency continues. Become a great SAP consultant, construction salesman, or graphic designer, and your skill-set will line up with today’s common job opportunities, making it hard to conceive another strategy.
In the formative years, and even through our twenties, we may not know enough about ourselves, the world, and work opportunities to be able to make such a focused selection. That is not to say that a focused selection is all wrong, but let us keep an open-mind for all that we can be.
Early childhood testing may indicate our core competencies. I was a prime fit to be a computer programmer because I got a great score on my critical thinking portion of an IQ test I took at age eight, and I showed a strong interest in logic and puzzles at in a technology class in middle school. My parents kept putting puzzles and technology in front of me. I was advised and destined to be a computer programmer/analyst. But as it turned out, my analytical abilities led to an engineering mindset that applied to all of life, not just software. And what about my creative abilities like an eye for design and strong musical ear, how would they fit in? They went surpressed for a decade until I started to see my artistic tendencies show up in everything. Also, what about my communication, athleticism, and heart? How would these fit in?
We are dynamic, and most of today’s jobs are too linear, preventing us from growing in a way or speed of our choosing. We can take natural abilities, refined skills, experiences, and interests of several different types and create work that best merges them together, making us truly unique, as we are, making us inherently indispensable, especially to those that appreciate this mindset. Thankfully, the pool of this appreciative demographic is growing rapidly, whether peers, partners, employers, customers, or virtually any relationship. And what could feel better than being exactly who you are? We just have to keep exploring many opportunities, always improving the connection between us and the world, a symbiotic and emergent force of usefulness.
We usually try a few things before choosing our preferences – dating, sports, foods, anything really. Finding something good doesn’t usually stop us from trying more things. Our careers can also be this way. Obviously there are some reasonable exceptions, such as choosing to commit to a life partner.
And who do we trust to influence us? Is it our parents, friends, bosses, laws, corporations, the media, entertainment, and the education system? Is it those that repeat a message that we should get a job and make money as it has been done in a traditional sense? With the advent of internet technologies, it is now much easier to find and learn from our true idols – those that affect our minds AND hearts the most.
If I had stayed with programming, I might be an expert programmer, possibly in a cubicle or confined lab, or possibly running a team of programmers somewhere, and only for money and excellence in programming expertise?
As it turned out, I felt limited in that situation, and chose to explore other interests, which clearly prevailed, because even with 5 years of experience I didn’t go back to that programming position. I felt pigeon-holed, and now I feel free – new goals and dreams had emerged.
You can find examples everywhere: