Alan Watts- Music and Life

Success seems to be that of a ladder, whether it being climbing up the rungs for schooling, or climbing the corporate ladder to success. But this poses the question, when does success start? Is it when you are independent and able to maintain a comfortable life style? Or is it when you have a accomplished something meaningful? There seems to be something meaningful that we are striving for just around the corner, but we created new goals and that notion of success and happiness is always one step ahead of us. We convince ourselves that the things we haven’t yet achieved or the status we haven’t yet reached is what will make us happy; That’s what we are really are striving for isn’t it? Happiness and fulfillment isn’t intrinsic to what we call success, it is simply an illusion that we have created in and attempt to find inner peace. As for how to find inner peace I don’t have a great answer for that so I’ll have to get back to you on that. What I’m interested in is how do you (the reader) define success?

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

After a recent visit with a college adviser, I was told what I already knew but what I didn’t want to accept: You should start considering a major. Credit wise I’m already a sophomore and a still undeclared sophomore at that. Deciding what you want you major is essentially asking, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Even as a kid I had a hard time answering this. My answers were never consistent; one year I wanted to be a fireman; another year I wanted to be a vet; at one point I wanted to be an air force pilot. But now I’m getting to the point where I should be at the least considering what I want to do, instead of ignoring the fact that I will have a future. This is really more a problem of avoiding difficult decisions than anything else.

The question, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” is way too daunting and final, I think an easier question to answer is, “how do you want to feel when you grow up?” I want to feel good, I want to feel like I’ve done something that has made a difference; I want to feel that I’ve helped people when others couldn’t. So the real root of that answer is that I want to help people. Now there are multiple paths of study to achieve this goal but I’ve effectively eliminated many of my potential college major choices. Now that I’ve identified what I hope to achieve, I now just need select a subject that is interesting to me so I can attempt to make a difference. This is just a small step but has made the idea of choosing a major so much more manageable and less stressful. So instead of asking yourself, “what do I want to be when I grow up?” ask yourself, “What do I want to achieve?”

Comments can now be anonymous

I noticed that most if not all blogs/websites require a name and email to post. Today in the digital age everything requires some account registration or at least an email. But I’ve removed this requirement for this site to break this trend and bring some awareness to this recent trend. With everything requiring registration we tend to edit our opinions for fear of how we will be perceived. So with the ability of anonymous postings, anything and everything can be said without fear of perception or failure. With anonymity we are free to truly speak our minds and no longer fear failure online. Of course I would like to know who I am speaking to but the option is now available.

 

Finding Passion

Passion is a very abstract concept. Most understand what it means and what it looks like but everyone has a different definition of it. From the point of view of someone who hasn’t found a passion yet, it seems intangible. Although I know it’s untrue, it seems that everyone has already figured out what their passion in life is and are taking steps to pursue it. And here I am, blogging on how clueless I am on the entire concept. There are many things I like, and enjoy doing but a passion to me is something you could do for the rest of your life and never get tired of doing it. I thought my passion was skiing but after 2 years of skiing almost every day I realized I didn’t want to base my entire life around that activity. But the fact that my passion is still unknown is the main reason why I’m here in college.

As I mentioned I have a multitude of interests but no real passion, or even concrete ideas of how significant those interests are. That’s really why I’m here in this situation right now. How can I truly say I have no passions when I know so little? Psychology seems intriguing to me and could be a potential passion but I’ve never even taken a psych class so how would I know? The little I have learned hasn’t necessarily struck any deep interest but I’m still young and only a freshman in college so I’ve got time. I’ve accepted the possibility that my future passion is something I have even thought of yet in some obscure subject matter. Passion cannot be forced; passion generates effort, but effort will not generate passion. So stressing over not having a passion is as pointless as stressing over not being in love. For the lucky few that have already figured it out, I envy you but I really can’t force either, so until then I will explore potential interests and improve myself as a person. I can either dwell in a negative mentality and achieve nothing, or accept that I can’t force love or passion and continue to develop as a person and be optimistic that I will find both.

Balancing idealism vs realism

The main reason I struggle with actually choosing a major is because often what I am interested in is not applicable to real world jobs. For example, I absolutely love philosophy but what kind of jobs would I really be qualified for with a philosophy major? This isn’t ancient Greece where philosophers were prevalent and had a major influence on society and politics. As much as I would like to be a philosopher the only jobs I would realistically qualify for with a philosophy major is either, a philosophy professor or a condescending barista at Starbucks. So in many ways what you are interested may not directly correlate with a future career. Instead of majoring in philosophy I am considering more applicable versions of philosophy for an area of study such as; sociology, psychology, or political science. All of these subjects have real world applications and career paths but still maintain a component of a subject that I am interested in.

As much as I wish it wasn’t true, often our hobbies and passions don’t always translate into successful and viable careers either. Skiing is my passion and is one of my favorite activities but the possibility of skiing for a living and maintaining a comfortable lifestyle is unrealistic. There’s a difference between a hobby and an interest this should be realized. The real struggle of picking a major is finding your interests that can actually become a career after graduating from college. Remaining undecided seems to be the most practical option because declaring a major early on and only taking classes that applies to that particular major limits your knowledge and thus, limits you potential future careers. Taking classes that have nothing to with your specific area of study will greatly benefit you because it expands the spectrum of you knowledge. There will most likely be a circumstance where that knowledge that had no correlation to a specific major will help you in future careers. Don’t limit your spectrum of knowledge to only what applies to a major, learn everything that interests you, in all likely hood it will help you out later in life.