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Working for One's Passions

I believe that neither passion without exertion nor drive without interest is enough to achieve true happiness. I believe that no matter your talent, upbringing or luck in life, if one works hard for something you believe in, one will always achieve Jefferson’s so-called “pursuit of happiness.”

I see people out there with firm devotion yet no work ethic to reach their goals. They sit down every day with their dreams, and believe in their own hypocrisy that mere enthusiasm without drive will get them to their dreams. I have little respect for those who say but do not do.

But it is the latter group of people, those with work ethic but not belief, which are more common and more severe an issue in our lives. With relative ease, I can think of many people with pertinence to said group, including my own family.

My parents were born in China with little money. Back then, and in China today, competition between your peers was fierce; my mom and dad spent every waking moment studying past the curriculum to achieve enough academic ranking to come to America and work as computer programmers making six-digit salaries.

But I’ve long since figured out that they did this out of necessity and pressure, and not out of passion. I admire their hard work, but when I look deep down into their hearts, the work they do is more a paycheck to them than a pursuit of inner gain.

Neither of these paths seems like the correct lifestyle to achieve life’s true goal of happiness.

But then I see people of all different classes, who have both passion and drive. I see people from all different income levels, from kindergarten teachers to doctors to musicians, working hard for what they truly want to do. Salaries are not what drive them; the job itself does.
My history teacher was a remarkable example of just that. Born and raised as a child prodigy, she went to a special private school and later double majored at Harvard. And while she taught university for a while, she now teaches high school history. Many people have trouble seeing a Harvard PhD working as a high school teacher, but I admire it. She does it out of her passion for teaching, and does it well past the job requirements, working hard to do what she believes in, not to earn a huge salary. Once, my history teacher told her class, as she was recommending students for the honors class next year: “If you are considering this because you want a higher GPA and nothing more, please leave as there is no chance you will succeed in said class.” From her I realized that despite the undividedly hard-working environment in which our education system pertains, the true reason to be in school isn’t for the opportunity to go to higher education or getting a good job, but to learn the skills you need to truly find and work for your passion.

And today, I work as hard as my parents did, but not for the pure goal of financial success but the dream of truly learning, so that one day, I might come up with enough wisdom from those before me to find a true passion of my own.



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