A friend reached out to me not too long ago, looking for guidance on how to combine his two interests: music and game development, with game development (a tech career) being the professional path he’s currently on. While looking for resources to help him out, I couldn’t help but wonder how a techie like him found it hard to merge one interest with another. Probably because doing that would be too ‘different’ or ‘wouldn’t make sense’.
Notwithstanding the fact that our world today holds ‘new’ and ‘fresh’ approaches to things in such high esteem, in the grassroot-level communities of people in every industry, many a time, people are told to focus on this or that, failing to understand that there is a possibility for a synergy of your career path, your talents, and your skills.
If you fall into the category of people like me with talents and interests seemingly ‘unrelated’ and ‘unmergeable’ with your current career path or job, read on. Let’s dive into this subject together.
1. You don’t have to be this or that
I was talking to a little boy I know some time ago. This boy always comes up with new career paths he wants to pursue every day. From Chief Justice to High Cheif to Barrister, and so on. So, one day, he told me that his dad said that he “…can only be one thing.” Meaning that he can only aspire to be one out of his many options. Of course, we can’t liken our adult aspirations to the naïve dreams of a 5-year-old, but there’s still a lesson to pick from this. I went on to tell my little friend that what his dad said wasn’t so true. I told him that he can be any number of things he wants to be, if he works hard enough.
Our parents and elders, most times, only advise us based on how it was in their own time. They do mean well, but sometimes, they just don’t understand. It’s our job, then, to carry them along, show them examples of multi-talented people who are succeeding, or even the small successes we have made so far. Some parents may understand, some may not. But the important factor here is you! If you want your interests and talents to be more than things you do just for fun, you have to throw away the ‘either this or that’ mindset of former times, and accept that today, anything is possible.
2. There’s a difference between admiration and aspiration
Just because the title of my article highlights interests, doesn’t mean that having only an interest in something is enough.
Back in High School, I was so in love with lawyers and general court proceedings. I could always picture myself quoting, countering and defending in court, like I would do during inter-school debates back then. But at that time, I had already decided that tech was the field I wanted to pursue. My mere ‘interest’ in law wasn’t enough for me to make a switch.
When you have an interest, a fascination for something, always check the entry requirements and the long-term outlook of a career in the field. It would be foolish to jump into something new every time you have a mere ‘interest’ for it. If your interest in a career path or role remains strong even after honest evaluation of all that it requires, then that should be your green light to pursue it.
3. Don’t put a limit to what your talents can be
From the cradle, talents have always been defined as ‘those things you do effortlessly well, that oftentimes point you towards your future career path.’ Examples we’ve always heard are singing, dancing, playing ball, songwriting, baking, etc. Those are fine. But what if your talent doesn’t fit into these ‘occupation-like’ gifts?
I’ve found that many times people say that they have no talent, or that they just can’t find theirs. And yet, such people could be great organisers: they can turn the messiest of situations into something tangible with a little draft of a plan; some of such people are natural leaders: not just the kind of leaders who are always in front of everything, but the kind of leaders who stay in the background and pool others’ talents and abilities for the smooth execution of a process.
A talent mustn’t always point to a particular occupation for it to be considered as a talent. Sometimes, it can be those not-so-little things, like planning and organizing, we overlook.
Let’s create a synergy!
Synergy is simply a combination of different things to obtain an output that is greater than the sum of the different parts of each individual thing to be combined.
I believe that there is a centre point where all your interests and talents lie, that everything you can do today is connected.
You don’t have to be this or that. You can:
- Have one major interest/talent, which is probably your current career path, establish and make people know you for that first, and then slowly show them your other skills. And people will pay attention, because you’ve already hooked them with your most outstanding ability.
- Link your abilities and interests, and give them one defining name. Take for example a person like me who loves to create designs and write, while building a career in the tech space. For definition, I tagged myself as The Tech Creative, a techie and a creative. Tech and the Creative Industry may not be 100% compatible on plain sight, but I’ve found a way to make it work. Go into yourself and think deeply about who you really are: is there a common thread in the things you can do?
- Put your talent into a vast number of fields. Remember what I said about people having non-occupation-like talents? This is mainly for you guys. Having a gifted way of organization or leadership makes you able to fit into any industry, because all fields are looking for people like you. Don’t mind the ‘you must specialize and be this or that’ mindset, but also don’t jump at every and any opportunity that comes your way. Always remember to work in line with your interests, because they are the fire that fuels your engine.
The rule of thumb is that your interest should birth and fuel what you do, and should be strong enough to see it to success as long as you put in the work. Realize who you are and how you can create the life you want.
Yes, people may say you’re confused, they may advise you not to stretch yourself too thin but that’s the beauty of being different! No one ever understands what you’re doing at first, until the picture is clearer.
DIFFERENT is what has and will always stand out in our world.
I hope you use the points I have shared in this blog posts to go out there and make a difference!
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