I’ve learned not to be so upset about having a job or career that isn’t 100% related to what I studied in school.
When you were at your High School graduation, did someone in your graduating class say something like “YEAH! No more studying! No more learning!”? I bet that somebody did, and I’m fairly sure that many people have that same attitude at their college graduation. While these are times of celebration, they are not life-markers for stopping the learning process. It seems that if you’re going to get anywhere in life then you will have to constantly be learning something new.
Some of those new skills you acquire will be due to self-initiative. They will be because you’ve taken the time to study something that you feel is important to you or your career. If you’re interested in designing rooms you’ll probably read a book on feng shui. If you find yourself working with new software at work you’ll need to study up on how to use it. And even if you take a job thinking it’ll be a piece of cake, you’ll likely be asked to take home some material home once in a while to help benefit your work.
Other skills will owe themselves to the massive amount of mistakes you’ll make in your life. Fool me twice…uh, ya can’t fool me again.
I do believe that one should follow their dreams, but I also think it’s naive to believe that that is the only option or talent one has. How likely is it that your dream today will be the same one you have 10 years from now? Values change, and so do and goals.
Take “Who Moved My Cheese?“, a story about two pairs of mice who learn that cheese is not a given right. The cheese that they were used to seeing everyday in one spot is missing one morning. One pair decides immediately that they need to change their actions in order to find new cheese. The other pair is too stubborn to change. Yeah, it’s a predictable metaphor for how goals change throughout life, whether they be personal or career-wise. But the point is that if you don’t change your way of thinking when the subject of thought itself changes, you’ll be left without what is so important to you.
I also like to think of it using a water metaphor. A moving body of water is admired. It’s fresh and attractive. A stagnant body of water becomes foul. It grows an odor. It has leaches in it. It’s dull and boring.
Which is why it’s so important to devote some time to a little self-improvement once in a while. While it’s great to have one talent you’re spectacular at, it probably won’t take you very far by itself. Success seems to follow people who can recognize change occurring and can adapt to it the fastest. To gain an attitude of thinking you don’t need to adapt is a good first step towards failure.
And the only way to adapt is to humble yourself by recognizing your weaknesses and improving them.