The dilemma of choosing a life path

Amy McNeel

When we are children, our elders tell us to follow our dreams. They tell us to do what we love and to not worry about the money. However, most of the people who tell us this practice the opposite. People tell us to do what we love, yet they have an occupation they strongly dislike. Due to this, we are often surrounded by hypocrisy. We are told to do one thing but shown to do the other. 

Either way, most people have a goal to make money. We want to be able to support ourselves, to indulge and to flourish. It takes money to do these things, and money is often found doing what we are good at. With this in mind, a new question arises: Should we pursue what we love or just what we are good at? 

In a perfect world, what we are good at would go hand-in-hand with what we love. An example would be an author saying, “I love writing because I’m good at it. I’m good at writing because I love it.” However, this world is not a perfect place. Sometimes we are not good at what we love. Most of the time, we do not love what we are good at. 

When this issue arises, it is hard to figure out what path to take. I’m sure we are all very aware of the Confucius quote, “Choose a job you love, and you will never work a day in your life.” As cliché as this line might be today, I still believe it to be true. Some argue that pursuing a career in something you love will make that certain thing become a chore. But if it’s that easy for you to get tired of your passion, then it doesn’t seem to be a passion at all.

Furthermore, some argue that you should do what you are good at instead of what you love because you will undoubtedly succeed if you are good at what you do. They say your occupation will be more fulfilling and achievement will come more easily. However, is this immediate gratification worth the boredom it takes? 

If you do what you love, you will not only find fulfillment in the outcome but in the process. 

When you love something, you don’t have to be an expert on it. That’s because if you love it, you are more than willing to learn about it, to progress and to ruthlessly work until the job is done to the best of your ability. In this sense, doing what you love is an open forum for exploration. Altogether, it seems the achievements made from hard work and passion are much more fulfilling than those made from stark talent.

Yes, I may be an idealist, and I may not specifically know what I want to do yet, but I do know that there are things I am good at that I would never consider pursuing in the workforce. I know that I do not want to sit in wrinkly work pants as I type away in a scrunched up, fluorescent cubicle.

I’m not saying that’s not right for you, but I know for a fact it’s not right for me. I encourage you to follow your dream, and I promise I will follow mine. In doing so, let’s each start making a life out of what we love.