Who are you? That is a question you must ask…
I have met many over the years who have a series of singular problems that all seem to connect into one much larger problem: a lack of understanding oneself. When you do not know who you are, how can you expect to solve the smaller problems at hand? And furthermore, what can you do about it? This is an entry about finding YOU.
I was in high school when I found myself, and not in the manner most know of. I recall staring at a blank sheet of paper, when a girl I barely knew (rather, did not know at all) began to cry and ran out of the room. It was instinct. I followed her, rushing out of the room with an animal-like desire to assist. I recall sitting next to her, listening to her, and talking to her.
What is the irony in this? It was an Advanced Placement Psychology class I ran from, and though I will never truly understand it, I got an A on that test yet I never took it. I think the teacher saw something in me that no one else did: a desire to help. And that is what I consider a moment where I isolated who I was from a singular experience, by helping another.
And that is something I do almost daily.
The Point Is This
We all have a moment – or moments – that define who we are as people. I have heard tales of nurses who chose their career path because they are fascinated with the human body; I have listened to clients who graduate into Engineering careers because they are fascinated by the way a building stands without falling; and I have heard my own tales of Psychology.
The point is this: when your gut tells you to do something – whether a career or a decision on the whim – I suggest you do it, because it may be a guiding mechanism behind who you become later on in life. We all have a purpose, and it is easy to figure it out. Believe me, it is easy. All you have to do is listen to the voice not in your head, but in your heart.
Good Versus Love
People often tend to overcomplicate their life’s choices. If you have a job where you don’t care, chances are you never will enjoy it or care about it. And though I may be stepping on a career coach’s toes here, I would suggest you give that job your week’s notice, and trust what you are good at, rather than what you love. And that leads me to this: do you do what you are good at, or what you love? There is no right or wrong answer to that.
I met a wise man named Corey Taylor who lectured at Oxford University alongside me. He said to do what you are good at and not what you love, because you will eventually learn to love what you are good at. I agree and disagree at the same time. For one, you may just THINK you are good at something when really, you are terrible at it. Second, you may be GOOD at what you love already, and this leads to the never-ending question of:
“What do I do from here?”
I would say, try what you love, but at least try and know what you are good at. Let’s examine the ever-so-common idea of a career in music. I’ve met hundreds of these people who think they can make it in a saturated market but guess what? Every market, to some degree, is going to be overloaded with people who FEEL they belong there. The trick is to begin to educate yourself before you jump into something with a blind intention.
Education Is Key
But can you both love AND be good at a career in music? YES! You can! But test your strengths first. I spent seven years trying to become a video game developer, and I found that though I love it, I am terrible at it. And so, I decided to jump to my secondary love: helping others. I found this through experience: I tend to love giving advice, and am also good at it.
If you want to work in the music business, as an example, but do not make it anywhere, that does not mean you cannot still make music – just like it does not mean I have to stop trying to make video games. It simply means, educate yourself – both on who you are and how to break into a given industry – and make a solemn choice on where to go from here.
In The End
In the end, there is no “right” or “wrong,” despite what Mr. Taylor suggested. If you like to make music, pursue it…but if you do not “make it” in such an industry, do not abandon it – just pivot from it. What’s your backup plan? What are you truly good at? And is it even a viable area to be good in? What if you love music but are good at helping others?
Does that mean you do not have the ability to still make music in your basement while also pursuing a degree in Nursing or Psychology? Absolutely not. That’s the beauty of life: we can do more than one thing with our lives, and we have the power to see where it goes. So was Mr. Taylor correct? Do we have to choose good versus love? No, we do not…