TED Conversations

This conversation is closed.

Are we actually doing what we really want, or are we simply choosing from an ocean of opportunities?

When people grow up, and choose a profession, is the profession they choose really what they want to do in life? Or is it simply what they would like to do best from the given choices they have?

Share:
  • May 26 2014: How could anybody be sure of "what they want"? It seems unlikely. Unconscious choices have always been part of human life. And figuring out the "real" part is particularly difficult. There certainly is an ocean of choices. Ironically, it turns out,that fact alone produces paralysis more often than freedom.
  • thumb
    May 26 2014: This all depends on one's perspective and socioeconomic limitations:

    Perspective: As children and teenagers, we generally are quite imaginative and choose career paths based on what we think sounds "awesome" or based on specific role models in our lives. As we get older, our interests typically change and we tend to take a more pragmatic approach, being guided by opportunity as well as the cost and practical aspects of each opportunity. Later in life, we also might find that the careers which we thought sounded "awesome" when we were younger, are really quite the opposite.

    Socioeconomic Limitations: While it's certainly great to dream big and aspire to accomplish one's goals in life, one most likely will end up in a situation where they need to pay their bills and afford basic necessities. These socioeconomic realities can oftentimes lead individuals to make do with the choices that are currently available to them. However, it's not all "doom and gloom," as individuals can use this time to develop their working knowledge and propel themselves into careers which they truly enjoy.
  • thumb
    May 20 2014: Anna,

    Perhaps another way of looking at your question is by asking another question: Which is more important in life, doing what we really want or doing what we need to do? Many of us, if given a choice or opportunity, want to do nothing or something else aside from what we need to do.

    Imagine a world where people only do what they want to do.

    Fulfillment is when what you really want to do, what you really need to do, and what your community expects you to do become one.
  • thumb
    May 18 2014: This is exactly the topic of Steve Jobs speech at Stanford Graduation:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UF8uR6Z6KLc
  • thumb
    May 18 2014: What people want to do in life changes with time. Also, some people have more imagination than others. They also pick from available choices, but they see more choices than other people.
  • thumb
    May 16 2014: "As human beings, we are endowed with freedom of choice, and we cannot shuffle off our responsibility upon the shoulders of God or nature. We must shoulder it ourselves. It is our responsibility." Arnold J. Toynbee

    "Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved." William Jennings Bryan

    http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/w/williamjen389006.html#rqQdiBfQ3oFrFPzv.99

    http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/arnoldjto101735.html#RDUM3roCe4EEXB4F.99
  • thumb
    May 15 2014: some just choose from what is available, a few who are unhappy with the choices might create something of a new profession, although it will have elements of existing professions.