Pursue Your Passion

Navigating the Abundance of Opportunities to Find Your Passion

It’s that time of year when the world’s Generation Z, Zoomers, are sitting in poorly ventilated locations with sweaty palms waiting to take exams that will materially dictate their future.

Whilst AI may very well change school and college work forever, for the time being we remain fixated on league tables, grades and results as the key that turns the lock of getting the best opportunities from Melbourne to Mumbai to Manchester.

But, is there a tried and tested hack for those who want to de-risk their exam years by creating a self-curated journey that leads to a fulfilling and exciting career? Much has been written about those infamous techies who barely made it through or quit college entirely to create unicorn monoliths. We’re not going to relitigate their resumes but instead we delve deeper to find a less apparent trait that many founders, creatives, sports professionals & those headed for the vocations seem to possess. 

From Buffett to Le Bron to Musk to Zuckerberg & Messi, they all focused on one thing from a very early age and de-risked their education and minimised peer group competition by becoming experts in their fields & learning grit, determination, resilience and adaptation without even noticing. Between the ages of 13-18, all these exceptional individuals had a common lifestyle of intense focus on their chosen pathway. Many would argue that sitting in front of a nascent computer in your parent’s garage in the 1970’s, a time of relative simplicity, is impossible to match today. The theory goes that the competition for young eyeballs these days creates so many competing media outlets that act as a disincentive to focus on anything at all!     

However, we beg to differ. It is easier than at any point in history to research and find your metier, your passion, your vocation, your calling. Finding a hero to attach to is also straightforward and as we all know heroes and icons are critical to any young person’s journey. That said, we accept that schools remain singularly myopic in their ability to educate for the 21st Century. Curriculums look very similar to those 50 years ago & whilst the process of learning & being curious remains the same whatever the era, the academic subject matter often appears turgid and irrelevant to the Zoomers!

Perhaps the way through the dichotomy of needing the grades but also learning from the giants of the last generation or 2 is to encourage & incentivise our young people to explore careers, vocations & avenues well before they leave school or college.  Attaching purpose to the academic process can for so many prove a game-changer. We can all agree that kids must have fun too! But perhaps the polarity between school and social interaction could be softened with the confidence and enjoyment that can result from finding one’s path in life. And lest we forget, the early starter does tend to outperform in so many fields simply because of the time they invested in the activity before most others.           

 

Those familiar with Malcolm Gladwell and Mathew Syed will recognise the nod to the 10,000 hours theorem here. After all, as the great golfer, Arnold Palmer once said, the harder I practice, the luckier I get…

 

Very best wishes to all those sitting exams this Summer, may your future be bright and rewarding.