Social Clock

By: An Angry Old Man

Social clock establishes the culturally preferred timing of important transitions in life, like going to college, picking your major, finding your first job, getting married and starting a family. During the past month I have had conversations with many of my former students who are struggling with meeting these cultural timelines.

My advice to them is to break the clock, stop worrying about these made up timelines and cultivate your passion.  That most people at 22 do not know who they are going to marry, nor do they know what they are going to spend the rest of their life doing.  So instead of worrying I advise them to cultivate their passion.

Why do I pick the word cultivate instead of finding your passion?  To me when someone states you should find your passion it almost makes it seem like it is there if you could just locate it and that there is only one passion for you.  I’d rather use the word cultivate since that means to promote the growth of your passion.

How do you cultivate your passion?  Listen to what other people appreciate about you.  Ask the people you trust what makes you different than other people?  What are some characteristics that people identify as you?  Reflect upon what causes you care about and the difference you want to make in the world.

When you have done some of this reflection jump into action.  If you are in school take some classes to see if they help increase your passion.  At one point, I wanted to be a college basketball coach, so I volunteered to coach at a University.  Realize when you first dip your toe into the water that you are going to struggle at first, you are new at it so be ready to make mistakes.  If you however enjoy spending your time thinking about how to improve and looking forward to the challenges of the next day, you are probably on the right path.

As those of you who know me realize, I am not a basketball coach.  So, I had to try many things out before I realized that education was my calling.

Be patient with yourself, life is sometimes messy, and the path is not always clear.  It is worth the wait however, since when you are working on something that you are passionate about you have tremendous intrinsic motivation.

I have ended many of these conversations with students by telling them, “I do not know what you are going to do but I do know that you are going to make the world a better place”. That is all we can ask.

Originally appeared here:

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