Recently I was speaking to a friend who lamented the fact that he hadn’t taken different educational path in life, and felt that he “missed the boat” on what might be a very rewarding career path. Before changing careers, I personally struggled with this same sense of longing and missed connection, and I feel a great kinship and sadness for those who feel stuck when the answer is right in front of them.
Many people come to discover a “true calling” or “passion” later in life. Unfortunately, this is often accompanied by heartache and disappointment because it appears, through our perception of our obligations and paths currently set in motion, that we can never afford to change our course. We are taught that we need to start early and fill our lives with education in order to go “far” in a given profession, and the ego tells us if we did not start early enough, have already taken another path, or if it’s not what we’ve been trained to do (not enough credentials), then it’s “too late” and we’ll never achieve that thing. Often this presents itself as the thought “if only I’d found this 10 years ago” or “if only I’d gotten my degree in ‘x’”.
Perhaps it was predesigned that we did not discover the true passion early on. While higher education is important for the sharing of ideas, gathering of knowledge so as not to be oppressed by a few persons in power controlling and manipulating the truth, and the mastering of trade techniques, structured education was also created with the intent to create well-behaved, productive factory workers and has the effect of extinguishing the creative spirit. By realizing your true passion at a later time, without the impediments of a structured education which tries to fit everyone into a pre-defined “career” box, we are free to explore the heart of the passion and take our own individual path to happiness and success, something infinitely more rewarding and beneficial to humanity than what has been created in a syllabus. Of course there are many people that find their passion in the technical realm (doctors, nurses, engineers, computer programmers, the list goes on and on). Their gifts to the world are equally as valuable, and the resistance against making a change and gaining the education necessary to fulfill such a dream is just as strong.
We must be careful not to let our egos convince us that the structured education and the “career-day” choices are what define us or who we should be, or that we should seek the approval of others by that definition. The ego loves that definition and is terrified to let it go. What will you be without it? What will people think of you for leaving it -You are a failure and couldn’t handle it. You are lazy. You are undisciplined. You are a fool and don’t realize what a good thing you have.). For those that seek a technical position, the ego is quick to make you feel unworthy of acquiring additional education when you’ve already taken time and resources on your given path, guilty about the time commitment that this new path will require when you have people who depend on you, and inadequate to perform and achieve your dream.
When we are able to put our egos aside, listen to what our consciousness tells us about our true power and gifts to this world and gain the courage to seek that true calling, we become happier and more connected to those around us, our experiences become more dynamic, and our work becomes a thing of beauty and creation rather than production and drudgery.