What do you want to be when you grow up? Every kid gets asked that and many adults are still trying to answer that question. Some people seem to know exactly what profession suits them while others seem to spend their whole lives searching. I know for myself the idea of doing just one thing for the rest of my life didn’t sit well. I just saw so many possibilities that I wanted to try them all. I was lucky that I was able to start and end many different types of careers. My newest venture may be the most rewarding one I’ve had so far. It’s also what I wanted to do when I was ten years old.
I just read an interesting article by Bruce Grierson, “The Rule of Age 10.” He researched people who changed their job path to something that was more gratifying for them. Some people will chalk it up to a mid-life crisis but research says that may not be the case. Our passion may be traced back to our much younger selves.
Mr. Grierson’s research revealed that by “Age 10 is a developmental sweet spot. You’re old enough to know what lights you up, yet not so old that adults have extinguished that fire by dumping more practical and “realistic” options on it. In other words, age 10 contains, in a sense, our source code.”
Parents and teachers mean well by steering young people towards a vocation that will help them be successful as adults. It’s not that they don’t want to support their dreams they just know how hard it is to find a profession that pays well. Unfortunately for many people they end up in a job that doesn’t fulfill them emotionally. They feel that they wasted a lot of time and energy on a career that is not satisfying.
Hence, the myth of the midlife crisis emerges. People suddenly leaving their successful, well-paying job to do what they always wanted to do when they were a kid. They find their enthusiasm for life again by going back and finding that spark that they thought they lost.
How do you figure out what you wanted to be when you were younger? What if you wanted to be a football player or a super model? Chances are that ship has sailed, but you may still find interests that you had that can be developed today. Do a little research. Dig out your yearbook or maybe a journal that you kept at a young age. Talk to family and friends. You never know what you may find but it would give you a glimpse into finding what lit you up.
I know, for me, I found the joy of writing again. I also found my voice and confidence to share my message to audiences. It’s been a long journey but one that I had to take to bring me to where I am now. All experiences, good and bad, are not a waste of time. If you are still looking for your passion, take a moment and think about what held your interest when you were ten years old. You may just find the missing piece of your puzzle.