Forget them! What Do YOU Want to Be When You Grow Up?

Today’s article is entitled “The Creative Monopoly.” It was written by David Brooks and published in the New York Times on April 23rd and can be found here.

This article talks about Peter Thiel, who founded PayPal and was an early investor in Facebook. In the article, Mr. Brooks explains that Peter Thiel was a highly successful student when he was younger, working his way through Stanford and Stanford Law School, only failing to meet his ambitions when he applied to be a Supreme Court clerk.

Mr. Brooks posits that this failure to succeed in one, traditional, competitive endeavor, led Thiel to think more creatively about what he might be able to accomplish in life. Obviously, as the founder of PayPal, Peter Thiel went on to become a highly successful businessman after overcoming that initial disappointment.

This opinion piece questions the value of societal pressures to pursue traditional professions encouraged by the US educational system and American culture. I like Mr. Brook’s hypothesis that we need more people to think outside the traditional “box” portrayed by most Universities in this country.

Students should be encouraged to think critically and creatively about their personal interests and how they would like to contribute to society, without feeling the need to bow to the immense pressure to conform to other’s expectations. And I agree that people who find a way to do this tend to be more successful and can make a significant contribution to society, sometimes in completely unexpected ways.

I do think, however, that the financial barriers are prohibitively high for most people to be able to even consider doing such a thing. How many of us could really denounce the traditional paths laid out for us throughout our education, to do something completely different and unique?

I admire the people in my life who have done this – the people in my high school who went on to become actors or to produce tv shows and movies or to conduct on Broadway. And one friend from my conservative college started his own gourmet peanut butter and jelly stand in a mall. It can take real courage to take a risk to do what truly inspires you. It is not the easy path. Sometimes I regret the fact that I have barely considered taking a risk like that. Do you?

Some Questions for Discussion: How do you think young people could be encouraged to think more about untraditional professions? How could we expose students to a wider variety of career paths? Do you feel that you were encouraged to walk away from traditional expectations and forge your own path? And did you learn any lessons from taking the path less travelled? Do you have any suggestions for people who are looking for financial support to pursue their dreams? Why do you think that people so easily give in to societal pressures when establishing their professional goals? Is there a role that parents or the government can play to help reduce the pressures to conform to traditional expectations? Are you a parent that has tried to expose your children to a number of different potential life paths? Do you have any suggestions for other parents trying to do the same?

What would you like to be or do if you could walk away from your current work? And do you think you will ever do that?

Please join the conversation. And thank so much for reading!

59 Comments

Filed under Career Planning, Education, Parenting, Youth Leadership

59 responses to “Forget them! What Do YOU Want to Be When You Grow Up?

  1. Alison Warner

    Love this! As you know, I’m going to be 40 this summer and only recently decided what I want to be “when I grow up.” I’ve started my own business as a Professional Organizer because it’s what I do well and what gives me something back in return. I love leaving a job and knowing that I made someone’s life better. It took me a long time to learn this, but now I understand that you need to have that spark that comes from doing what you love to be successful. It may not make you rich in the bank, but it sure makes waking up everyday a little bit sweeter!

  2. Hi Ali! Thank you so much for commenting! I was thinking about you as I wrote this one. I am so happy for you that you have figured ooutt what you want to do and are going for it! I really admire that. So often, momentum seems to keep people, including me, from doing that. Were you nervous to take the plunge?

  3. I would say I currently have the whole life on auto-pilot according to society’s expectations. I got straight A’s through high school, participated in all the extra-curricular activities, filled my resume to the brim, scored high on the bubble tests, got scholarships, worked through college to have experience when I came out, graduated with high scores and soon found work within my interests. I have learned a ton and enjoyed most of it.
    But sometimes I ask myself if this isn’t just what society wanted for me, more than what I wanted for myself. So I have searched within myself and found even more things that I truly enjoy doing; wheeling and dealing (like our rental business), our backyard chickens and more creative things like our website. I’ve also always wanted to travel in-depth (rather than just the cursory vacations) and live in other countries. (We are about to embark on that journey to live in Puerto Rico soon!)
    But I’ve found it takes a lot of guts to step out of the box that is so prescribed, especially when you see some degree of success from towing the line. And sometimes I think about all the people who never even had the chance to try the traditional path (and would love to trade places with you!). I feel blessed with the opportunities I have had in my life, but sometimes I think conforming to the traditional “path of success” (school, career, mortgage, debt, marriage, family, etc) can ultimately be unfulfilling because it is so “standard” and does not fully take into account an individual’s talents or interests except insomuch as they plug into the system.
    I recommend you see the movie “Surfwise” about a family in the 60’s who decides to forego all traditional schooling and just travel around in a van surfing. Some of the kids who are grown now really wish they had had a more traditional childhood, but all of them turned out to be so much more creative in their career pursuits than the “bricks in the wall/worker bees” that the traditional society seems to churn out. I often wonder how much of our own spirit and spunk is beaten out of us when we try to fit into the prescribed boxes of society. Thanks for the thought-provoking post! 

  4. Thanks for the thoughtful comment, Cassie. That is exactly what I am talking about. The traditional path can be the easy path and it can lead to a lot of positive outcomes. I have a love-hate relationship with policy work. I am good at it and oppotunities frequently arise for me to work in that arena, but what else might I be good at? It does seem that as we get older, many of us are starting to think more about what we would really like to do, regardless of social expectations and pressures. Maybe that is because we are also finally at an income level that gives us more flexibility and that allows us to think more creatively about what we might want to do. I love following your personal journey to really go after your dreams on your blog. Hopefully, someday, Carlos and I will finally do the same! Thanks SO much for commenting. You know how much that means to a new blogger…;-)

  5. Pingback: The Ritalan Generation: Why Do Some Children Fall Behind in School? | newsofthetimes

  6. An outstanding share! I have just forwarded this onto a co-worker who was doing a little research on this.
    And he actually ordered me lunch due to the fact that I found it for him.
    .. lol. So let me reword this…. Thanks for the meal!

    ! But yeah, thanx for spending time to talk about this subject here on your site.

  7. An impressive share! I’ve just forwarded this onto a co-worker who was conducting a little research on this. And he in fact bought me lunch simply because I stumbled upon it for him… lol. So allow me to reword this…. Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending time to discuss this issue here on your blog.

  8. A patent attorney has to abide by various federal rules which are imposed so that the information of the inventor or the client is
    always kept confidential. The document review outsourcing company will negotiate more flexibly if it senses
    your cooperation. The fact that patent writing is a big business does not mean you pay big sums
    of money to obtain experienced patent attorney.

  9. This status also served to make the tests
    too expensive at $3,500 plus for many patients. Either way you will still
    be able to adequately roll your bat. Inventors need
    to be aware that there is no guarantee that when a professional patent search takes place that all prior
    inventions will be detectable.

  10. This online services include content writing, design, programming, copywriting and photography.
    The important things about operating a prosperous e-commerce business would be best enjoyed alongside a rewarding
    personal life. By bearing in mind each of these steps, the organization will have
    a higher probability of success.

  11. Its like you read my thoughts! You appear to understand a lot
    approximately this, such as you wrote the book in it or something.

    I think that you could do with some % to force the message home a little bit, however other than that, that
    is fantastic blog. A fantastic read. I will
    definitely be back.

  12. I think this is one of the most vital information for me.
    And i’m glad reading your article. But wanna remark on some general things, The site style is ideal, the articles is really great : D. Good job, cheers

  13. Hi there, I think your website may be having browser compatibility issues.

    Whenever I take a look at your web site in Safari, it looks
    fine however when opening in I.E., it’s got some overlapping issues.
    I simply wanted to give you a quick heads up! Aside from that, wonderful website!

  14. It didn’t take long for marketers to stop using videos for mere entertainment.
    This is someone who can make lemonade out of lemons.
    Blue-collar workers can only dream of such flexibility.

  15. I was curious if you ever thought of changing the
    layout of your blog? Its very well written; I love what youve got
    to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better.

    Youve got an awful lot of text for only having
    1 or 2 images. Maybe you could space it out better?

  16. Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to mention that I have really loved browsing your weblog posts.
    In any case I will be subscribing to your feed and I
    hope you write once more soon!

  17. I blog quite often and I seriously appreciate
    your content. The article has truly peaked my interest. I’m going to book mark your website and keep checking for new details
    about once a week. I subscribed to your RSS feed too.

  18. you’re in reality a good webmaster. The website
    loading speed is amazing. It seems that you are doing any distinctive trick.
    Furthermore, The contents are masterwork. you’ve doone a great job in this matter!

  19. Hey there would yoou mind stating which bloog platform you’re
    using? I’m looking to start my own bloog in the near future but I’m having a hard time making a decision between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal.
    The reason I ask is because your layout seems different then most
    blogs and I’m looking ffor something unique. P.S My apologies
    for being off-topic but I had to ask!

  20. Fabulous, what a web site it is! This web site gives
    helpful facts to us, keep it up.

  21. It is worth the time to do this at the beginning of your business online,
    because that you do not want to become spending more of your time on packaging, then on
    making your products or services and listing.

    If you happen to be unable to transmit the IRS this info, then
    you may not be capable of claim the pay as a business expense.
    They offer different packages on their customers base on the specific
    needs as well as within their budget.

  22. Hire a reliable movers and packers to make your vehicle shifting safe and sound.
    There is lot of scope for fresh business opportunity in
    all regions. E-Z Movers makes over 4,000 moves annually and it has set the mission
    to raise $10,000 per year.

  23. Simply wish to say your article is as amazing. The clarity on your post is just
    nice and i could suppose you’re knowledgeable in this subject.
    Fine together with your permission allow me to take
    hold of your RSS feed to keep up to date with approaching post.
    Thank you one million and please carry on the gratifying work.

  24. The only difference between custom and semi-custom is
    always that semi-custom can have some pre-cut or pre-built parts which are customized after being made.
    Better yet, request leftover materials from general contractors
    off their past jobs. I have seen site built ‘custom’ cabinets in
    homes which can be all plywood and never what you would call
    ‘of quality.

  25. This paragraph will assist the internet people for building up new website or even a blog from start to end.

  26. Greetings from California! I’m bored at work so I decided to
    check out your site on my iphone during lunch break.
    I really like the info you present here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home.
    I’m surprised at how fast your blog loaded on my cell phone ..
    I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyways, fantastic site!

  27. Hiya very nice website!! Man .. Excellent ..
    Amazing .. I will bookmark your website and
    take the feeds also? I’m glad to seek out numerous useful info here within the put
    up, we need work out extra techniques on this regard, thanks for sharing.
    . . . . .

  28. I seldom leave a response, however i did a few searching and wound up here
    Forget them! What Do YOU Want to Be When You Grow Up? | newsofthetimes.
    And I actually do have a couple of questions for you
    if you usually do not mind. Is it just me or does
    it look as if like some of these remarks look as if they are coming from brain dead people?
    😛 And, if you are writing on additional online sites,
    I’d like to follow everything new you have to post.
    Would you make a list of all of all your community sites like your Facebook page,
    twitter feed, or linkedin profile?

  29. This is a topic that is close to my heart…
    Cheers! Where are your contact details though?

  30. Helpful info. Lucky me I found your site accidentally, and I am
    surprised why this coincidence did not came about earlier!
    I bookmarked it.

  31. Very great post. I simply stumbled upon your blog and wanted
    to mention that I have really enjoyed surfing around your blog posts.
    After all I will be subscribing for your rss feed and I hope you write again very soon!

  32. Hi there just wanted to give you a brief heads up and let you know a few of
    the images aren’t loading correctly. I’m not
    sure why but I think its a linking issue. I’ve tried it in two different web browsers and
    both show the same outcome.

  33. Heya i am for the primary time here. I found this board and I in finding
    It really useful & it helped me out a lot.
    I hope to provide one thing again and aid others such as you helped me.

  34. First off I want to say fantastic blog! I had a quick question that
    I’d like to ask if you do not mind. I was interested to know how you center yourself and clear your thoughts prior to writing.
    I’ve had a difficult time clearing my thoughts in getting my thoughts out there.

    I truly do enjoy writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15
    minutes are lost simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any suggestions or tips?
    Thanks!

  35. Definitely believe that that you said. Your favorite reason appeared to be
    on the net the simplest thing to take into accout of. I say to you,
    I certainly get annoyed while other folks consider issues that
    they just do not know about. You managed to hit the
    nail upon the top and also outlined out the whole thing with no need side effect , folks can take a
    signal. Will probably be again to get more. Thank you

  36. This text is priceless. Where can I find out
    more?

  37. Nice weblog right here! Additionally your web site quite a
    bit up fast! What host are you the use of? Can I get
    your affiliate hyperlink to your host? I want my web site loaded up as fast as yours lol

  38. Incredible points. Great arguments. Keep up the great
    work.

  39. Aw, this was a really good post. Spending some time and actual effort to
    generate a very good article… but what can I say… I procrastinate a whole lot and
    never manage to get anything done.

  40. This design is spectacular! You definitely know how to keep a
    reader entertained. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Fantastic job.

    I really enjoyed what you had to say, and more than that,
    how you presented it. Too cool!

  41. I love looking through an article that will make people think.
    Also, thank you for permitting me to comment!

  42. you’re in reality a good webmaster. The site loading velocity is amazing.
    It kind of feels that you’re doing any unique trick.
    Moreover, The contents are masterpiece. you’ve
    performed a fantastic activity on this topic!

  43. Greetings, I do think your web site may be having internet browser
    compatibility problems. When I look at your blog in Safari, it looks
    fine however, if opening in IE, it has some overlapping issues.
    I simply wanted to provide you with a quick heads up!
    Aside from that, wonderful website!

  44. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on mobile apps for android.
    Regards

  45. I’ve read several excellent stuff here. Definitely value bookmarking
    for revisiting. I wonder how so much effort you put to create
    this sort of great informative web site.

  46. I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own weblog
    and was wondering what all is required to get set up? I’m assuming
    having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny? I’m not very web savvy so I’m not 100%
    certain. Any recommendations or advice would be
    greatly appreciated. Kudos

  47. I savour, cause I found exactly what I used to be looking for.

    You have ended my 4 day lengthy hunt! God Bless you
    man. Have a great day. Bye

  48. Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you writing this write-up and
    the rest of the website is very good.

  49. Do you have a spam issue on this site; I also am a blogger,
    and I was wondering your situation; we have created some nice procedures
    and we are looking to exchange solutions with others, be sure to shoot me an e-mail if interested.

  50. I can not figure out how do I subscribe for your blog

  51. If some one needs expert view concerning running a blog then i propose
    him/her to visit this webpage, Keep up the fastidious work.

  52. Hello to all, the contents present at this website are really awesome for people experience, well, keep up the nice
    work fellows.

  53. Just curious if there are any blogging websites where I can start a blog that aren’t as well known.. I am already aware of sites like blogger, wordpress, livejournal, xanga, vox, etc. . . Are there any up and coming blogging websites possibly?.

  54. May I simply just say what a comfort to find a person that really knows what
    they are discussing online. You certainly understand hoow to bring a problem to ligh
    and make it important. Moore people ought tto read this and understand this side of your story.
    I can’t believe you are not more popular given that you most certainly have the gift.

  55. Woah! I’m really enjoying the template/theme of this site. It’s simple, yet effective.
    A lot of times it’s very difficult to get that “perfect balance” between user friendliness
    and visual appeal. I must say you’ve done a excellent job with this.
    Also, the blog loads super quick for me on Internet
    explorer. Excellent Blog!

  56. This website was… how do you say it? Relevant!! Finally I’ve found
    something that helped me. Many thanks!

  57. Hi, the whole thing is going well here and ofcourse every one is sharing information, that’s
    in fact good, keep up writing.

  58. Excellent post. I was checking continuously this blog and I’m impressed!
    Very helpful information particularly the ultimate phase 🙂 I handle such information much.
    I used to be seeking this certain information for a long time.
    Thank you and best of luck.

  59. I believe everything said made a great deal of sense. But, consider this,
    suppose you wrote a catchier title? I ain’t suggesting your information iss not good.,
    however suppose you added a headline to possiblly get people’s attention? I mean Forget them!

    What Do YOU Want to Be When You Grow Up? | newsofthetimes is a little boring.
    You should look at Yahoo’s front page and notfe how they create post hdadlines to grab viewers to click.
    You might try adding a video or a picrure or twwo to get people interested about what you’ve written.
    In my opinion, it might bring your website a little livelier.

What do you think? (Note: please check "follow comments" after leaving your comment so you will be notified by e-mail with replies.)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s