I happened to be the part of a discussion based on the theme of the transition from school to college/university and why the students tend to behave differently after joining the college than what they used to be in the school. Many factors and reasons were highlighted and discussed and one of them was that the students are usually forced/pushed by their parents or the friends to join a particular stream or combination of subjects. When they find things not of their interest or liking, they tend to ignore the studies and as a result might appear to be behaving differently. The question raised was that the children should be provided proper career counseling at school level so that they choose the subjects and stream of their liking. The meaning thereby was that the students should know their element. If they do so they will enjoy their life in college and in the social way also. But in many a case this does not happen so. Even if the children try to convey to the parents their desire to pursue something of their choice which the parents might consider as an uncanny option for their future, they dissuade their kids not to tread on the path of their choice. While reading the book by Ken Robinson, I came across a chapter in which he very rightly writes about the perception of human beings including the children- what they will think or what will they say. The three important factors which are the hindrances in letting us do the things as per our choice and interests. These are personal, social and cultural.
The personal barriers are the ones which may be due to the lack of confidence in self potential and abilities. This may be due to physical problems or somebody suffering from disabilities like dyslexia etc. The child might want to do the things of his choice but due to reasons beyond his control may not be able to do so. For example, if somebody has an aptitude for painting but might have lost his hands in accident or otherwise due to which cannot pursue his interest. Take the example of Chunk Close who became a renowned painter but before that faced many hurdles including his own dyslexic problem. He had lost his parents in the initial years but it was his will power and the confidence in his abilities that he ultimately succeeded in his life though the success came after a lot of hard work and sufferings. There may be a child who has an aptitude to be good in science but the area in which he lives does not have any school/college of science and he cannot afford to go somewhere else to study due to financial constraints. Hence , he chooses to study some other subjects. Sometimes the fear of making others unhappy with their action also contributes to the problem of personal behavior.
The second barrier is probably more prevalent and responsible for the people not to pursue the career of their choice. The parents, friends and the relatives are always there to extend all the possible advice and guidance to the children as per their own interest. The parents are particularly concerned about the future of their child and would force their opinion so that their children do something which will bring them name and fame in terms of position and money. They want to help their children have safe and secure future. This happens across the globe with some exceptions. We may find so many examples around us but I would like to quote about the famous writer of the book-The Alchemist and he is Paulo Coelho. His parents always wanted him to become a lawyer and not the writer, whereas Paulo was always keen to explore the power of his pen and be a writer. His parents tried their level best to change the mind of their son. They even did certain things which not many parents would do to their children even if they are dead against their choice. Paulo did not mind all that too but also did not give up the idea of being a writer. He always thought that his parents loved him that is why all the fuss of forcing their opinion on him. It is very much possible that Paulo might have been a good lawyer but the passion of writing gave him an edge and he was able to stick to his element. Family and friends are the people who really at times prove to be barriers and try that you do what they feel would be good for your future without giving any consideration to your aptitude and interest. If you want to join music classes or painting classes you might be asked not to waste time and money rather be forced to focus on science and mathematics to become an engineer. Those who resign to pressure may not be able to find their element and do something which might fetch them money but not the real satisfaction. Those who rebelled against the family members and friends even for some time excelled in future. Even the friends and family members who were against them pursuing their own choice embrace them once they succeed in their endeavor. You can find many examples of this type around you and by virtue of being a teacher, I have come across many such issues where the children were forced to do the things not necessarily of their choice. The other major barrier in this category is of the group thinking. You must have come across a situation many-a-times when you did certain task not because of your interest but because of the group pressure. There may be a few children who would like to attend the school or a particular class but the group may want to bunk. This group pressure is so strong the person despite wanting to attend the class, join the group to remain absent. Many children who fell in the habit smoking did not initially wanted and in many a cases they hated doing that but the group thinking and the pressure could not be handled and avoided.
The third barrier may be the culture in which you are born and is followed around you. You may be more interested in the proof for everything you do but in your culture, the traditions might be followed very seriously. So your element which might help you to create something new forces you to follow the traditions. In India, we are told not to look into the eyes of the elders if they are strongly telling you about something which you might have done wrong. This is because here it is considered to be disrespect to the elder if you look into his eyes. The same is different in other countries especially in America. There if the person looks down when being told the same as above, is considered to be an insult to the elder. There may be so many other examples which do not allow us to be in our element and so something which may not be of our interest or liking. That is the reason you may find many people who migrated from one culture to another to be in their own element.
So, if you want to enjoy your success then be confident to take the challenges of the barriers discussed above. Do not give in to the demands of the family and the friends or constraints put in by your culture but know your element and act upon accordingly.