Before we address the question about the lack of focus on interests, lets talk about as children, how we made choices for ourselves.
8 out of 10 people we meet today are likely to say they would have picked a different career path given a choice.
Isn’t it true that we make the most important decisions of our lives, like our career, through a well thought out process of elimination? Shouldn’t these decisions be a matter of our choice instead?
Tim Roche, a known Career Management Practice Leader asserts that people adopt careers without ever examining their choices. He says, “They became a [fill in a role] because their parents wanted them to; because their university entrance exams led in that direction; because of pressure from peers or authority figures; or because someone told them they’d be good at it.”
If most of our decisions are made based on well-meaning but misguided reasons it should be no surprise that while they fulfill us only in the short run; in the long run these decisions lead to dissatisfaction and professional fatigue.
The sweetest spot to be in is when we love what we do (Interest), we do it well (Aptitude) and it creates value in the real world (Need).
In an ideal world, there should equal focus on Interest, Aptitude and Need to determine the course of our lives starting starting early childhood and learning, right up to our professional education and choice for a career.
In reality however, the emphasis is always more on Aptitude defined by how well we do things and how that translates into a job or Need. Our Interest or what we love to do is limited to hobbies and activities we do for recreation outside of our professional lives.
One reason for this is the pathological need for our society to be competitive and hence be more performance driven than interest focused.
In her famous Ted Talk, Clinical Psychologist and author of the book The Conscious Parent, Dr. Shefali Tsabary emphasises, “We teach our children – you can’t simply play, you must achieve; you can’t just have a hobby, you must excel at it; you can’t just dream, you must dream big; and why really dream if you can’t succeed. We our severed by our sense of being; because we are so consumed by doing. This how we know self-value.” She hits the nail on the head.
As a society, we are designed to excel, conditioned to outdo and trained to top.
Isn’t this the reason why the market is flooded with many recognized tests, exams, assessments to map children’s aptitude and performance; but there is no known way to objectively map what drives their interests?
There is a popular thought that competitiveness is inversely proportional to happiness. According to a comparative study of 42 nations around the world by Evert Van de Vliert and Onne Janseen, published in the Journal of Comparative Social Science, happiness decreases as the level of competition increases in a given society. Interest on the other hand is considered instrumental in bringing joy to our lives. Researchers and social scientists creating a scientific framework to study happiness consider interest to be a key positive emotion that contributes to our happiness.
If people are generally happier when they do things they are interested in, why are we pushing our children to do things without understanding what drives them?
To raise happier, more fulfilled children we have to rethink our approach that gives more importance to performance and puts less focus on interests.
We have to find a balance between what children love to do versus what they should, can and must do.
With PiNWi – a smart interest mapping tool, parents can focus on their children’s interests from an early age. Our unique solution logically maps children’s interests using data received directly from them and helps parents with usable insights to help them keep up with their children’s ever-evolving interests.