Why studying a course that wasn’t ‘practical’ was a blessing in disguise.

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This idea for this post originally came to me last year when I read an article about the hundreds of Harvard Students who are studying Ancient Chinese Philosophy. One of the points it made was the fact that students that begin calculating and rationally deciding on plans is actually the wrong way to make any sort of important life decision. The Chinese philosophers they are reading would say that this strategy makes it harder to remain open to other possibilities that don’t fit into that plan.

I remember a school teacher telling me in Grade 8 and again in Grade 10 that the subjects you pick from now on are very important and will have a big impact on your career options moving forward. I didn’t heed this advice. 

I picked Film and Television in Grade 9 and enjoyed it so much that I studied it all the way until Grade 12. Now if I was being practical about my potential career choices then I probably would have picked something like Chemistry or Maths C as they are ‘practical’ subjects when it comes to getting into university courses. But the reality was that I really enjoyed Film and Television & the happiness it brought to me meant more than doing a subject I didn’t like because I might need it in the future. 

Fast forward a couple of years and you’ll find me halfway through a Business degree and then if we keep fast forwarding I’m now in a role as a Digital Marketing Manager for a global organisation that requires me to think about the storytelling behind our content strategy & editing videos on a weekly basis. The 14 year old boy in Grade 9 could never have envisioned that 10 years later those skills would be required on a weekly basis. 

The article goes on to say that students who aim for the practical “are not paying enough attention to the daily things that actually invigorate and inspire them, out of which could come a really fulfilling, exciting life.”  

So just because there’s a predetermined career path for somebody in Finance doesn’t mean that you should pursue it. Instead I’d encourage you to choose the things you’d do for free in your spare time. You never know where they might take you. 

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2 Responses to “Why studying a course that wasn’t ‘practical’ was a blessing in disguise.”

  1. judythesweetspot

    Reading your post made me think of all the hours that people put into goal setting – developing paths that they think they need to follow

    Goal setting takes energy from what you really love and if you really love it then you don’t need to set a goal to achieve it – it just happens!

    Life is short, happiness is everything, follow your instinct and learn how to be a human in the world

    Another great post Damon!

    Reply
  2. Benny Callaghan

    Nice post Damon…very true. There is an old spiritual principle called the “Law of Connecting Diamonds”, where it is only in hindsight that you look back on life and see the miracle of all the diamonds that connect to have brought you to where you are now.

    Reply

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