I recommend you ignore those who want you to study something because of social status or even great earning potential. The best way to make the most out of life is to follow your heart with regards to your choice of career or profession. I have no way to prove that this is a correct hypothesis. However, here is my thinking: this is your future profession we’re talking about – you may well be doing this for many decades and quite possibly the majority of your life. Death is unavoidable, so you may as well make the most out of life by doing what you love or pursuing your passionate areas.

I am a believer in the clichéd “money does not make you happy” concept. One of the world’s greatest tragedies is when a very talented mind is relegated to a high-income job in which he has no particular passion for. The world loses an enormous amount of productivity every time this happens. Studies have shown that on the graph of income (X) versus happiness (Y), happiness will level off at a certain, and surprisingly low level of income, i.e. any more income above that point will, on average, not make you any happier.

This is not some argument that I just came up with off the cuff – it has been stated over and over again by countless successful people:

The one piece of advice I can give you is, do what turns you on. Do something that if you had all the money in the world, you’d still be doing it. You’ve got to have a reason to jump out of bed in the morning.Warren Buffett, industrialist, philanthropist and legendary investor

Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.Joseph Campbell, mythologist, writer and lecturer

It is never too late to be what you might have been.George Eliot, novelist, journalist and translator

I took the [road] less travelled by, / And that has made all the difference.Robert Frost, celebrated poet

You were born an original. Don’t die a copy. – Tony Mason, Australian artist, producer and director

We are at our very best, and we are happiest, when we are fully engaged in work we enjoy on the journey toward the goal we’ve established for ourselves. It gives meaning to our time off and comfort to our sleep. It makes everything else in life so wonderful, so worthwhile.Earl Nightingale, motivational speaker and author

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady of the United States and advocate for civil rights

You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle. – Steve Jobs, business magnate (Apple Computers) and inventor

Astute readers may point out that many of the people listed above pursued careers which are naturally well-paid and therefore took far less risk than their quotes suggest. This is true to some extent, although I don’t think it is a significant point. Take Steve Jobs as an example. He was, at one point in his life, returning coke bottles for the 5-cent refund just so that he could eat. His life then was anything but well-paid and he took enormous risks to lead him to the success. Those risks required heart and I contend that Jobs was only able to make those tough choices because he loved what he did.

Overall, I hope I have given you something meaningful to ponder – it certainly has deep implications from my point of view. The important thing is not to feel trapped by dogma, which is living within the confines of other people’s thinking. Also, optimism always helps, because we all make career-related misjudgements at some point in our lives.

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