In Be Happier, Find Your Passion, For Dream Chasers

Growing up, my mom tried to convince me to become a marine biologist. “Just imagine it,” she’d say, “you could live by the ocean and work with dolphins.”

Believe me, I was intrigued. I’ve always been drawn to the ocean and I thought marine life was pretty cool. There was only one problem: I didn’t like science. At all.

My dad once said I’d make a great lawyer. I don’t know if he really meant it or if I’d just worn him down in yet another debate about why he should take me to the mall rather than spending the afternoon together in the park, but it made me wonder if I should consider a career based on my keen knack for arm-twisting.

When people make these kinds of suggestions, it’s hard not to question if they have better insight into who we are than we do. It’s enlightening to hear how others view us and what they perceive as our strengths. But if we’re not careful, those insights can lead us down the wrong path and we can end up becoming who the world wants us to be rather than who we really are.

In retrospect, I know I would’ve been a terrible marine biologist because marine biology doesn’t light my fire the way other things do, like writing. (Not to mention, my husband has imparted upon me an extreme fear of sharks.) And I would’ve been miserable as a lawyer because, as it turns out, I don’t like to argue.

Fortunately, this doesn’t mean my love of the ocean or persuasive skills have to go to waste, I just have to find a way to use them that is true to me…like writing on the beach and then convincing someone to buy my books 🙂

Who does the world want you to be?

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Showing 8 comments
  • Wow, this really hits home for me.

    My dad and a number of aunts and uncles are Engineers. I graduated with a degree in Engineering, probably fairly close to the bottom of my class. However I took a number of courses in Communications, which boosted my GPA and landed me a great job as a consultant for an adhesive company. I really like it a lot.

    Do adhesives really get me excited? No. But the people are great and I love the traveling I get to do.

    Then, very recently I realized that I should actually make a solid effort in trying to publish my manuscript which I had just been writing for fun.

    I guess in a way I’ve become both what the world wants me to be (and I’m actually pretty good at it) and I’m also letting myself become what I want to be.

    So maybe we should listen to what the world has in mind for us. Who knows, they might actually have a good idea. But in the end we need to fully listen to ourselves.

    • Erika Liodice

      Hi Kelly!
      You make a great point and it sounds like this approach helped you set up an ideal situation; a day job you love that enables you to chase your publishing dreams.

      Doesn’t get much better than that!


  • Ashley Prince

    I love this! I completely understand this. My family always tells me I’ll be a great psychologist because of how much I talk about psychology. Or they’ll tell me to be lawyer, or an officer in the Air Force.

    But it is so important to be who you want to be.

    • Erika Liodice

      Wow, Ashley, that’s quite a diverse mix of occupations! Maybe you need to look at these interests not as professions but as topics for your writing? That way you can be who you want to be while exploring the things that interest you.


  • PatriciaW

    I think about this as we raise our three sons. Each is gifted in different ways, and as their talents emerge, we try to nurture them and make helpful suggestions. But I also worry that our suggestions might come across as edicts or at least strong recommendations, somehow blocking their ability to see and choose their own options. What they love today may not be what they should pursue tomorrow.

    • Erika Liodice

      I can’t speak for your children, but my parents advice stuck with me for a long time. Some of it was right, some wrong, but what I felt most was their desire for me to do what makes me happy.

      Your children are very lucky to have a mother who is so in tune with their happiness 🙂


  • karenselliott

    I often feel that others push their ideas onto us to make life easier for them, so that we all fit into the right size whole, to be “normal.” Be a “good” wife, be a “good” mother, be a “good” secretary, blah blah blah. Let’s turn it around too – I am cautious when a loved one or friend asks, “What should I do about…..?” I always turn it around (I think this is what the psyche doctors do), “What do you want to do?”

    • Erika Liodice

      Love this! What a great approach. Often we ask others what we should do when we really we know the answer deep down but just need to uncover it.


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