If you want to change your career, here is a list of ideas and examples that could give you the courage and motivation to take that step:
In his book “Creatures of a day,” psychiatrist Irvin Yalom, recommends to a patient who is not happy with his profession, the book “Meditations” by Marcus Aurelius. He says that the Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius, was not pleased with his job either, because he wanted to become a philosopher! Since philosophy was his real passion, we honor Marcus Aurelius today more as a philosopher than as a ruler!
Take Argentina’s most beloved psychoanalyst Gabriel Rolon. He first studied guitar and became a tango singer! Later on, he realized that what he wanted the most was to become a psychologist indeed. But he was scared to begin studying because of his age. Then his father said to him,
“I will not be ashamed of a son who tries and fails, but I will be ashamed of you if you don’t do it for fear.”
So he went for his passion, and that was the best decision he ever took!
Recently, when he presented his latest book, “Cara a Cara” in a stadium in Buenos Aires, 6.000 people were there! He keeps helping and inspiring so many people, and he embodies the wisdom he is trying to spread. It is all because he took that ONE RIGHT DECISION at the right time!
It is a bit hard to like the police. But recently, I have heard an interview with one who sounded like such a good person. Seth Stoughton was a cop, and then he decided to go back to school and became a law professor! He does a lot of critical thinking about how things work in the police departments nowadays, and he is trying to help improve that system, to turn it more human and fair. Hopefully!
In one of Ken Robinson’s speeches, he gives the example of a famous piano player. Consider that if she could make it as a concert pianist, she must have practiced thousands of hours literally since her childhood. So that girl was making a great career and all, until one day the conductor of an orchestra told her after a concert,
“You play wonderfully, but you don’t seem to enjoy it really, do you?”
She said she doesn’t. Indeed, her passion was reading! So at some point, she took that decision, gave up her career as a great musician, and became an editor! It is also exciting because what you can naturally do when the best does not necessarily have to be your passion. You may want to do something else with your life!
Take Maria Popova. She is the founder of the beautiful website Brainpickings. She used to have a steady, well-paid job, but this is what she says about her decision to leave it,
“Do I want to bury myself in a corporate job that I’m going to spend 80% of my waking hours at, be miserable, and hope that the money it gives me will make the other 20% of my life better, even though I’m angry and tired and burned out? Or, do I want to do something that makes me happy to wake up to and happy to go to sleep having done and let the financial part figure itself out?”
She is reading and writing all day and bringing wisdom into people’s lives through her website, and it turns out that it became a huge success, and she makes her living out of it!
There is a fascinating website called “80.000 Hours” that gives you excellent career advice. It is founded by the youngest philosophy professor in the world: William MacAskill. He teaches at Oxford. (Not that I think people’s academic titles matter. But I like that guy because he sounds like a very modest and generous person. He donates half of his salary every month!)
I have heard him on the Tim Ferriss podcast. When Tim asked MacAskill how he managed to get there so young, he said that “he just thought long enough” before choosing his career.
He gave an excellent example:
If you want to go out for dinner tonight that takes, let’s say 90 minutes, and you would think at least 5 minutes, right? In one lifetime, we work around 80.000 hours. So, to decide what to do with it, we would indeed need to think for about two years! On that website, you will find a lot of valuable career advice. You can also take a quiz to see what fits you better. They give you a lot of tools for “how to think clearly” on the subject.
I loved the “Getting unstuck” episode by the Hidden Brain podcast. If you think that you have tried it all and still don’t know what to do, it will offer you valuable insights and new ways of thinking.
Don’t miss the podcast “Good Life Project,” with Ken Robinson as a guest. You may know him from his TED Talks. He is on a beautiful mission, helping people from all around the world to lead more meaningful and fulfilling lives.
I am addicted to a podcast called “On Being with Krista Tippet.” She is one of the best interviewers in the world. The episode “Choosing Curiosity Over Fear” is precisely on this subject.
It can be very discouraging to hear any advice that only says, “find your passion.” Because most of us, except a few fortunate ones, don’t know it for years, and such a bit of advice may make us feel very lonely and clueless. But on this podcast, they recommend us to follow our curiosity instead. It makes it all much more straightforward.
Of course, it is not easy to take that step to change your career. But if it is a “meaningful” step for us, we must go for it. Only then we can have a fulfilled life.
That’s why I think this is the most “motivating and encouraging” quote of all times:
“He who has a why to live can bear almost anyhow.” Friedrich Nietzsche