Wednesday, July 11, 2012

What dictates our passion?



I am entering my final year of Engineering and needless to say , I now have to decide on what path to choose after my graduation. I have been trying to figure out for sometime now where my passion lies.Because once I figure that out I can decide on my options after engineering-be it research,a career in industry or swithcing over to MBA. But, as I try to figure out what  my passion is,another thought comes into my mind-What makes someone passionate about something? When people say,'I am really passionate about my job,I love doing it',what makes them passionate about the job? I find this really interesting because we often know what our passions are but we can not answer why we are passionate about those things.Be it singing,mathematics,finance or creative writing-why are people passionate about some things and not so inclined towards others?

There is one possible explanation for this:Neuroscience tells us that different areas in our brain are engaged in different functions.So different activities such as sports,drawing,speaking,analytical thinking etc use different areas of our brains.And each profession such as medicine,engineering, accounting or football ,to name a few involves engaging in different sets of activities and hence engage different parts of the brain.Now, I come to the crucial part:some areas in our brain are stronger than others.What this impiles is that each of us have a range of activities that we are inherently capable of doing well.This is what we call 'aptitude'.These activities are the ones that are controlled by the stronger areas of our brain.When you take up one of these acitivities that suit you, it will immediately tickle your interest because you already have an aptitude for it.And as you invest more time on it, that activity or a job that involves such an activity might become your passion.

But,here is the twist in the tale:your brain structure is constantly changing.This concept is known as Neuroplasticity.A particular part of your brain that is weak today may be strenghtened by regularly giving it a work out.So, don't give up when you think you are not good at something.But, instead regularly engage in that activity because in that process your brain will be forming new neural connections in the weaker area of your brain.And after some effort you will gradually get better at it and you will begin to enjoy it.

In conclusion,it is great if you can choose a career that suits you or if you are already in a job that is your passion.We will be more successful at our jobs if it also happens to be our passion.But if you find yourself in a job that you feel is not for you,dont give up just yet.Start approaching your job in a positive way knowing that you can become really good at it with some efforts.And once you are good at it,there is no reason why you will not love it.

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