Should you chase after a passion or career?

u-leap.com - By Ian Schneider: https://unsplash.com/@goian

In my previous article titled, South Africa, a gold mine of talent I touched on how South Africans young and old are sitting with an abundance of gifts and talents and how this is a positive reflection on South Africa locally and internationally.
On the other side of the spectrum, we are surrounded by people who are unable to pursue their passion or dream. These individuals are currently putting in the maximum amount of hours in their areas of work for the main reason of trying to earn a living.
Whatever the driving force is, there is no denying that there is a large percentage of South Africans who know hard work.
Giving ourselves a pat on the back for hard work is great and all but at what cost? South Africa is rated at the top of the list of countries who worked more than 60 hours per week. From a list of 45 countries, South Africa is ranked at number 8 from the top with 11.8% and Turkey at number 1 at 20.9% and Russia last at 0.2%. To read further into this please visit Quartz Africa as the article goes into depth on the topic of the number of hours worked and how we fare as a hard-working country despite the unemployment rate being low.

u-leap.com - By Tim Gouw: https://unsplash.com/@punttim

Passion and career rarely mix

It is a rare find when you come across someone who genuinely can say that their career is their passion. Most articles on the subject will either be for it or against it, however, it isn’t for us to decide what is best for you. You will need to make that decision on your own and when you do, make sure that whatever choice it is you make that it is fulfilling in the end. So fulfilling that despite the ups and downs you can turn around and say “I’d do that again.”
That’s the point of it all, isn’t it? To live a life that’s rewarding. It might not be easy, to some extent, it might cause great harm to not just you but your family and loved ones and ultimately your life ahead.
Now in order to not mislead you, here is the other side of that page. A group of Stanford psychologists wanted to get to the gist of the argument on which is better to pursue, passion or career and their extensive research can be read up in the article by clicking here. I would appreciate it if you gave it a read as it gives you a different side of the story. It’s important also that you have proper resources to make informed decisions, as making the wrong decision might be something you might strongly regret.
I find that as South Africans we do not have the luxury to take big steps like these in pursuing our passions. With the limited amount of job availability, it doesn’t make this decision any easier.
However, no business or venture is started without risk. You won’t always know what awaits you after every decision you make and that’s ok. Many successful businessmen and woman failed countless amounts of times before they succeeded. For some encouragement, here is a list Business Insider made on the top 29 famous people who failed before they succeeded.

u-leap.com - Photo by Clemens van Lay on Unsplash

Here are a few tips to help you on your journey:

  1. Stay informed - Do extensive research on whatever it is you want to pursue. Just because it did not work for someone else does not mean it won’t work for you.
  2. Know yourself – know what your strengths and weaknesses are to such an extent that you are your biggest critic.
  3. Take calculated risks – There is a vast distance between a risk and a calculated risk. A risk is venturing off into the ocean without knowledge and planning. A calculated risk is taking precautions and doing troubleshooting beforehand in order to prepare you for what you could be expecting.
  4. Speak to those who know more than you – It’s absolutely fine that you don’t know everything, it means you like everyone else and that’s ok. Want to study to become a teacher? Speak to a teacher who has more than 20 years of experience and then speak to a teacher who has less than 5 years of experience. Why such a big gap in the experience? Well, because you need to make an informed decision and getting feedback from someone who loves teaching and someone who regrets it might lead you to make that informed decision. Plus don’t just take one person's opinion on the topic.
  5. Jot everything down – Seeing all the information you’ve acquired by doing the above and jotting them down might just shock you. At times it might feel as I’d the information is being presented to you by someone totally different and you, in turn, might look at the information differently. By writing your plans down on paper and compiling your information together can help you in the long run if you for some reason forget the purpose behind all of your hard work.

I hope this article shed some light on this topic for you and that after reading all of this you have a clearer mind. If you are looking to start your own business watch this space, as I will be giving some advice and tips to kick start you in the right direction.