P.T. Barnum gave us great advice (from his wonderful book The Art of Getting Money; Or, Golden Rules for Making Money)
The safest plan, and the one most sure of success for the young man starting in life, is to select the vocation which is most congenial to his tastes.
Do what you love. If you love what you do, then you’ll never work a day in your life. This advice was true yesterday and it’s true today.
The logic is basic. But still, many people cannot follow it. One reason (according to Barnum) is they receive poor advice from their parents:
Parents and guardians are often quite too negligent in regard to this. It very common for a father to say, for example: “I have five boys. I will make Billy a clergyman; John a lawyer; Tom a doctor, and Dick a farmer.”… He does this, regardless of Sam’s [his child’s] natural inclinations, or genius.
Very true. Many parents are concerned with the prestige of a child’s position; sadly, they overlook the natural talents of the child. And so the boy grows up in a job that he hates. And more importantly, he never becomes a GREAT MAN.
Barnum mentions that he, himself, had very few talents. He was not mechanically inclined, and he sucked at mathematics. However, he stumbled into a job that he loved – owning a business. And because of this, he was able to apply his natural talents.
Barnum summarizes the message:
Unless a man enters upon the vocation intended for him by nature, and best suited to his peculiar genius, he cannot succeed.
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