I believe to be truly happy you have to follow your passion. You have to find the spark in your heart that tells you why you are here and how you can be fulfilled. You have to find that true calling that motivates, energizes, and makes you get up in the morning.
How do you find your passion? Some people are born knowing. I saw a scientist on PBS who knew he wanted to study bugs since he was three years old. Others are lucky enough to find their passion through hobbies that fulfill their lives, like decorating cupcakes, reading, drumming in a band, or rebuilding car engines. No matter what the passion, everyone needs to follow their heart in order to be happy.
Other people search for years. Loads of college students pace through classes without a clue what they want to do with their lives. I know that feeling only too well.
I started college, like most 18-year-olds, eager and ready. I declared a major in health sciences but just couldn’t find my niche. I fell back on one of my high school talents: marketing. I did well, but even into my senior year, I had concerns and questions. What could I do with marketing? Would this really make me happy?
One morning I went to the dentist for a routine visit. Out of the blue, everything made sense. I wanted to be a dental hygienist. I could see myself doing this. At first it seemed crazy. I was almost done with my degree. I was one semester away from graduating. I talked to counselors and advisors, both in marketing and in the school of dental hygiene, who advised me against making the transition so close to graduation. Somehow in a summer and two semesters, I took all the pre-requisite classes for the dental hygiene program, completed dental observations, became CPR certified, volunteered at a dental clinic, and put in my application. I did all this while finishing up my marketing degree and working part time to support myself. I’m probably the only person who’s ever taken Micro-bacteriology and Anatomy along with Consumer Behavior and Merchandising. Despite the many hurdles I had to overcome, I have no regrets, no matter what the outcome.
I know I had the motivation and determination to do all this because I found my passion. I know this was what I wanted, and I know this is what will make me happy. I have a meaningful goal, a purpose.
This experience has taught me to follow my heart. Having something meaningful and fulfilling in life is worth the pursuit; it doesn’t necessarily have to be grand or sensational. It does, however, have to meaningful and sincere. It does have to make you happy.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.