A recent blog post by Jonathan Fields, author of The Uncertainty Book, caught my eye. The post, which is entitled "Turning Play into Pay," features writer and filmmaker Majka Burhardt, who has turned her passion for travel, adventure, and the outdoors into a profession.
This comes at a time when I have been discussing the current job trends with my psychology students at the University of Arizona. Our dialogues have focused on recently released statistics showing that 53% of college students who graduated in the Class of 2012 are either unemployed or underemployed. Some of my students have used the word "horrified" when confronted with these trends. A few have admitted that they are conflicted between studying subjects that fascinate and excite them or choosing a major that they feel will increase their chances of landing a job out of college. Many of them will end up going in a direction that they think is practical, but if that direction denies or ignores their true interests and passions, the decision will turn out to be much less practical than they think.
For one thing, the passionate individual always stands out. In a field of job applicants, who would you rather hire: the one who is merely competent or the one who is excited about the job, including the opportunity to learn new skills and collaborate with others? Everybody can tell when you're just going through the motions, starting with you. People who don't love what they do generally don't last in a particular job or field. I saw this with my many friends who majored in electrical engineering in the 1980's simply because there were high-tech jobs to be had. Within a few years, several of these friends had quit their Silicon Valley jobs to pursue careers as contractors, artisans, and entrepreneurs. One guy became a professional chess player, making a modest living doing the one thing he loved the most.
It doesn't matter if you find fulfillment by doing what you love or by loving what you do. Not everyone who loves playing chess is going to get paid for it. A number of factors are at play, including talent, dedication, tremendous patience, and good fortune. But when you focus on whatever inspires you the most, incredible things just seem to happen. Opportunities arise, like-minded people find you, and you put yourself in the flow of abundance. I am very happy to say that I know this from personal experience!
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