It is said that choose a career not on the basis of what you know but who you are or rather follow your heart. Studies in USA show that the single biggest factor in business success is passion. It is a foregone conclusion that everyone has to work hard to come up in life. In reality you can work hard consistently all your life on something only if you have a genuine passion for it. The great inventor Thomas Edison had said ,” I never ever worked in my life. It was all fun” despite working 18 hours a day. An American writer had said that hobbies are more a measure of a man than profession is. Other writers have defined wrong occupation as “lifetime imprisonment” and “Spiritual suicide” However one understands the deeper significance of all this only when one suffers in practical life. There is even a site by the name http://www.passioncatalyst.com.
The second factor after passion is talent. It is true that by and far if we are interested in something, we are likely to have the requisite talent for it but this is not absolutely necessary. Just as one can know whether one is a cricketer only by actually playing cricket, one can know whether one is good or bad at any occupation only by trial and error. Qualifications can prove deceptive. You maybe qualified for something but your real talent may lie somewhere else. If you have the passion but not too much talent, then passion may enable you to surmount the problem.
Volunteer project work– In USA , people actively take up volunteer project work to figure out where their real talent lies. This is important enough to be mentioned separately. Whether or not you are a good organizer or administrator can only be gauged by actually doing those things and observing yourself vis-à-vis those people who are extremely good at those things. In school and college, organizing events is a frivolous activity that is taken into consideration once in a while. However in real life, professional organizers are completely different and just by stuffing one self with knowledge, one cannot become good at practical applications.
The kind of work environment you enjoy can also have a strong bearing to choosing your career. I personally know the son of a very high profile corporate executive taking “river rafting guidance” as a career because he loved being with nature. So one should give a strong weightage on what kind of environment one would like to be in.
The sort of people you like– I had an interesting chat with the son of a businessman who wanted to apprear for the Indian Administrative Service. When I apprised him of how politicians can be and would he like to work under them, he was not so sure. Therefore, one has to take all this also into consideration.
The kind of Technology involved– If you are a technocrat or those tech-heavy types, this would be an important consideration.
Some people choose their career on the social issues they feel strongly about.
Some people decide on their career depending upon their value systems- Love
Wealth , health, success, meaningful work, Intimacy, security etc. What weightage do you assign to each of these will decide what kind of career you should choose. They will naturally not have the same weightage throughout your life.
I am deliberately mentioning knowledge and qualifications last because unless you are among the lucky ones whose qualifications exactly synchronises with what they intend to do, qualifications can prove very deceptive. Einstein had said that Imagination is more important than knowledge. So just because you are stuffed with knowledge on a particular subject does not necessarily mean you can apply it with dexterity. Intelligence lies in application and what value addition you do to that knowledge- not in knowledge per se.
http://www.lifepurposecoaching.com summarises it best when they say that:-
(1) It must resonate with your deepest sense of meaning. (2) You must have the talent to be successful at it, perhaps in collaboration with others. (3) It must be needed in the world.