Profession Not By Choice
Few people actively choose the profession they end up in. Most graduate high school and decide to go to college. Upon completing their first year, a decision is to be made of a major. This is the course of study which will apply towards the eventual profession that is ultimately entered into. Or at least that is the theory. The only problem with this idea is how many people of 18 or 19 years old have any idea what they want to do? According to my analysis, very few.
There is another problem with this methodology. Even of those teens who do know what field they are going to enter into, how many of them actively choose it on their own. Again, my research dictates the same answer: very few. Most individuals in this situation are opting for a course of study to please someone else. We see this often in the medical field where a person becomes a doctor because others in the family expect it. Or, another common situation is where one enters into the "family business". How many times have you see a law firm called Smith & Smith which is a parent/child partnership. Obviously, the apple did not fall far from the tree on this one. As you can see, the reason is obvious.
Society also has a way of exerting its muscle and telling us what is appropriate behavior. Over the last 30 years, "blue collar" work in the United States has a tarnished image. The ones who entered those fields were the kids who were not smart enough to get into college. Our societal conditioning teaches that one should be in white collar professions to be worthy of esteem. Plumbers, carpenters, and electricians are not as esteemed as lawyers, doctors, and accountants. Therefore, people opt for particular professions based upon this mindset.
Another area where society is influential is with the proverbial "keeping up with the Joneses". People are affected by what they see from advertisers. We are taught what a "successful" life is. Images of cars, homes, and fancy vacations are plastered in magazines and on television are being symbols of success. The implied idea is that if you do not have them then you are a failure. And who wants that?
So, what happens? People end up buying these items, often on credit to impress other people. Living up to the standards of society is a baseline many people have to attain. To them, just being content is not enough. They have to have the right car parked in the garage which is attached to a house in the proper zip code. Hence, great effort (and expense) is required to achieve these ends.
What happens when one achieves these ends yet is still unhappy? This is where the proverbial mid-life crisis hits. Usually it takes a few decades for someone to "arrive". This allows for enough time to succeed in a field thus generating the income to accumulate all the toys. This is a model which is followed since it is the blueprint we are told will equal happiness. Of course, the day arrives where the person wakes up and realizes all this stuff does not equate to happiness.
What happens when one finds him or herself in a crisis situation such as this? At this time, the person looks to change things. If he or she is proactive, a conscious decision to follow another path might be undertaken. This is where we see people switching careers. However, often people will deal with the problem in unhealthy ways such as having an affair or buying an even more expensive toy in a quest to attain what he or she thought is missing. Ultimately, we know none of these solutions will work. Hence the process of unhappiness continues.
The Right Dream
The best decision you can make is to start following the right dream for yourself. Shed the shackles that exist from conditioning of others. Instead, analyze what you want and go after it. There is no reason for you to live an unhappy existence. This world has a lot to offer. It is up to each of us as individuals to decide what we want out of this life. Everything is on the table if you are willing to stretch your mind.
In western cultures, we are not taught to strive for a thing called fulfillment. Instead, the images I mentioned before of success are held as esteem. Yet, what better way to go through life than to be fulfilled and content. Does that mean you have to settle for less? Not at all. What it means is that you need to decide exactly what you want. If you do not like working 80 hours a week, then why do you do it? Is it because your quest is to amass more money to pay for all the things you think are important? If so, perhaps you need to re-evaluate this idea. Whatever your situation is, did you end up in it because of conscious choices you made? If the answer is no, then you need to figure out what you want.
Many people are taught to wait until they are older to enjoy the things in life. We even have a nice term for it: our golden years. The sad fact is most people never make it to this age. Illness derived from stress put people in a state where they end up buried long before they retire. Therefore, all the things they put off never come to fruition. Life simply passes by.
You cannot allow life to pass you by. Decide what you want, what you truly want, and go for it. Sure, it might take some planning and adjustments. But the fact of the matter is your life is proceeding day-by-day and you cannot make up for lost time. There is no other time than the present because we have no idea how much of a future any of us have. If you are a person putting things off until another year, please keep this concept foremost in your mind. The end could come at any time. It is your responsibility to pack as much into the years you have here as you can. This is your life. If you find yourself chasing a dream that you no longer hold dear, then it is time you did something about it. Chasing the right dream is crucial if you ever are going to find fulfillment in life.
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