A group of kids were having the popular career conversation, you know the one that goes “ I want to be … when I grow up.” They listed professions ranging from doctor, army, teacher, policeman, fashion designer and even Spiderman. You can almost imagine the age of the one who said Spiderman. It brought back memories of years past when I also had my “What I want to be” list. I remember fisherman/woman had made its way into my list simply because my social studies teacher had just taught us about some occupations in Nigeria, and the way she talked about the fishing profession sounded interesting.
As funny as that might be, it goes to show that people find fulfillment in different things. What might work for one person might not necessarily make another fulfilled or happy. It helps if we can realize this early in life, so we do not measure our success based on another person’s decision or even the society.
I remember a young lady back in the University. She was what would be described as a “black beauty.” She looked like a model in every sense of the world. One would have thought that if she didn’t want to use her academic qualifications that she would go into the fashion industry, but that wasn’t her passion. After studying a four-year course and graduating with a 2.1, she left everything to pursue her dream of helping others, of being a missionary. For her, helping others was more fulfilling than working in any office.
I also met a young man who was in the army. He was one of the lower ranking officers, the one who was usually sent into the field in times of crisis, but his love for his job was so contagious. His face lit up as he told me about his trainings and adventures. It was like something out of an action movie. He loved all the adrenaline he experienced in the face of danger. Yes, it was scary when it was a real war and sad when he lost his friends but, he wouldn’t trade his profession for any other kind of job. I was so impressed, for the first time, I had met a person who almost convinced me to go sign up for the military.
There is also the story of a top bank executive who after many years in that sector resigned to be a stay-at-home mum. When she was asked about the reason for her decision, she said her passion had always been to be able to raise her children by herself and to teach them values she believes they’ll need for life. She was happier and more fulfilled taking care of her kids than she was when she was in the banking hall.
I chose to share these unusual stories of success because most times our society defines success only from one angle; the big monies, power and fame. These are good things too and some people’s definition of being successful but not everyone’s. All these goes to show that different people have different measures and criteria to define a successful and happy life. The trick is to find yours and live it well.