Jerusalem, Oct 30: Young people with passion for their calling are more likely to be successful later on and satisfy both their personal and professional needs, regardless of inherent talent, a new study has found.
The study from Tel Aviv University (TAU) asked whether one should pursue their passion or strive toward a secure living and found that the two objectives are not mutually exclusive - in fact, each feeds the other.
The researchers also found that those who exhibit a passion for these interests in their teens are more likely to be successful later on, regardless of their inherent talent.
"Given the economic reality today, people commonly face trade-offs as they make decisions that pit the two sides of careers - the 'heart,' or intrinsic side, and the 'head,' or extrinsic side - against one another," said Dr Daniel Heller of TAU's Recanati School of Business.
"We wanted to examine people who chose to follow more challenging career paths, such as those in the arts, and assess their chances of 'making it'," Heller said.
Heller and colleagues surveyed some 450 high-school music students at two elite US summer music programmes over the course of 11 years (2001-2012) as they developed from adolescents to young adults to professional musicians.
"We found that participants with stronger callings toward music in adolescence were likely to assess their musical abilities more favourably and were more likely to pursue music professionally as adults regardless of actual musical ability," said Heller.
However, difficulties in pursuing their dreams were still evident. According to the study, participants who were involved in music professionally, even at a minimum, earned considerably less (a gap of USD 12,000 per year on average) than freelancers or amateurs who pursued their musical interests outside of work.
But they also reported similar or greater satisfaction with their jobs and lives. For those with strong callings, personal rewards such as satisfaction may matter more than professional rewards such as income.
"If you experience a strong calling, you need to be cognisant of your relative preferences for intrinsic versus extrinsic rewards and potential trade-offs between the two, then decide accordingly," said Heller.
"However, we found that, in certain fields, one's drive or passion afforded a competitive advantage over others, even when unrelated to objective ability or talent," Heller said. The study was published in the Journal of Applied Psychology.