In college, I read a book called “rich dad, poor dad” by Robert Kiyosaki. The book was based on the premise that a rich dad encourages his child to pursue his or her passion, whereas the poor dad’s focus is to ensure his child attains the highest level of education. The rich dad encourages an entrepreneurial endeavor whereas the poor dad may, in a way, limit the child’s ability to explore by only providing the option of schooling.
I understood the premise upon which the book is predicated and saw it as an eye-opener. Fast forward 12 years later, and this theory has been proven in my life and the life of most of my peers. I can’t even begin to tell you how many of those peers have had to return to school for a second degree in nursing instead of proceeding to a master’s level education.
Those with a master’s degree are still struggling to pay off their student loans and let alone pursue any passion. It is as if our parents indirectly tell us to forgo our passion and focus on education, without realizing that traditional education is not for everyone. The ideal approach will be to allow your children to follow their passion through extra-curricular activities while pursuing their education.
By the time they get to college, they would know how to live out their passion through their education, instead of going to school for the sake of a degree only to discover years later that they do not even love what they spent decades studying in school.
Many of us, especially those of African descent, have been told to pursue education to our highest potential. However, somewhere in that expectation, you lose sight of your passion as some parents dictate to their children to become nurses and doctors. Education is most definitely a privilege in Africa, so we set on this path of achieving and becoming the best in the diaspora. Ultimately, the strive to success is not bad, but how many people get to the end (bachelor’s, master’s, PhD degrees) and feel satisfied?
We allow others to define the meaning of success for us, instead of defining our own meaning. There is a danger in being prescribed a standard for success; when success is truly a subjective matter and is not dependent on others’ opinion, we become fulfilled. Otherwise, many drag to dead-end jobs daily, yet are too afraid or exhausted at the end of the day to even make a change. We get caught up in the rat race and find it virtually impossible to make a career shift because we have bills that are dependent on every single paycheck.
I have taken drastic measures in life pertaining to education and career while friends and family constantly reminded me that quitting anything somehow makes me a failure. I am here to tell you that you are not a failure whatsoever. We must know when we have had enough. One must know when a job, a relationship, or any endeavor for that matter, should be ended.
Starting over is not bad when you have a plan and faith. Most importantly, knowing your purpose in life will guide you into the right profession, the right marriage, the right attitude, the right friendships, and a life that is fulfilling and worth living daily.