Inner Source

Better health the natural way.

Can You Follow Your Dreams and 'Make It' in This World?

Doing what you love: Is following your heart really worthless?

10 steps to make your kid a millionaire
A few months ago I came across a discarded copy of the September 2011 Forbes magazine. The cover teased: “The 10 Steps To Make Your Kid A Millionaire”.

Twenty years ago today, I would not have picked up this magazine. Instead, I would have chosen an earmarked Modern Drummer magazine or maybe a crumpled up Rolling Stone. About twenty years ago today, I was a drummer in a rock band looking to ‘make it.’

What made me want to be a musician and not care about money?

Well, in high school, about 30 years ago today, I listened closely to the words of my mentor Ferris Bueller, who taught me to look around and enjoy life. Ferris warned that if I did not start to look around, “I might miss it” (yes, I actually cut a typing class to go see that movie, unwitting to the plot).

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In college, my ‘oh captain my captain’ was everyone’s favorite teacher, Mr. Keating, from Dead Poet’s Society. Mr. Keating captured the inertia of my college years with the pithy theme carpe diem — seize the day.

And of course, there was my spiritual father, who coined the phrase "follow your bliss": Joseph Campbell of the Power of Myth series with Bill Moyers. Campbell was able to explain a world of myth and how it related to my life’s hero’s journey.

So, with all this belief in ‘doing what you love,’ why would I sheepishly pick up this Forbes magazine today? 

ferris
Because my priority was clear: Artistic expression was out and paternal angst was in.

Because, now, I am the father of a 4-year-old. Because life experience and being in a rock band for eight years taught me that doing what you love is not always congruent with making enough money to eat and keep shelter. After those fun and hearing-destructive eight years (… am I yelling?), I gave up the sticks, and went to medical school and became a naturopathic physician. My mom got to finally say those words “my son, the doctor.” And I became someone who was more able to earn an income — I am lucky, for it is still a pretty fun job, but definitely not as loud.

mr. keating teaching carpe diem
Now, I pick up this Forbes magazine, as the father of a 4-year-old. Twenty years ago today my questions would have been centered around how to create a solid hooky rhythm in an original rock song that won’t step on the lead vocal. Now, the questions swirling in my head are:

  • How can I assure my daughter’s future?
  • What kind of world will she inherit, and what can I do to protect her survival?
  • Is Waldorf’s pre-pre school going to prepare her for the Ivy League?
  • Is the Ivy League even in her best interest, for research shows most company CEO’s come from state schools?

jospeh campbell:
"Follow your bliss."
Ahhh ... the questions and concerns. So, now, in a tizzy,  I pick up this Forbes magazine and feverishly turn the page to find the lead story. Somewhat surprising to me, what I learn is  that first step of ten is:

“Don’t Overeducate”

This number one piece of advice goes on to explain that a physician may wind up with only slightly more spendable money than a plumber (I probably shouldn’t tell my mother). It also goes on to furnish the results from a Georgetown Study regarding high and low payoff majors (from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce) — I was horrified:

High Payoff Majors (Median Earnings per year)

Petroleum Engineering           $120,000

Pharmacy                                $105,000

Math/Computers                     $98,000

 

Low Payoff Majors (Median Earnings):

Theology                                 $38,000

Early Childhood Education     $36,000

Psychology                             $29,000

 

Maybe I am being negative here, but the message this is sending to me is:

 #1 – Oil and drugs are what pay.

 #2 – Studying about God doesn’t pay

 #3  Teaching children doesn’t pay

 #4  Psychology is the most worthless thing of all to study

Now, before I became a naturopathic physician, I seriously considered studying theology instead. To me, it made sense that one way to understand the world is to understand how we relate to our sense of a higher being. Apparently, there is no real world monetary value to this. 

My wife, Dr. Pina LoGiudice, who is a regular guest naturopathic physician on The Dr. Oz Show, was a psychology major in college at the University of Rochester (she’s really good, if you want to check out her videos). And she seems to be doing pretty well. I always thought that the work we put into our children’s growth from a young age will ultimately show in both in a future generation’s physical health and also emotional well-being. According to Forbes, teaching the next generation has no cash value either.

A Question for You

If you are reading this website, like myself, you likely think there is value is psychology — but, like art and music, it seems that unless you can create a business hook of some kind to create a commercial success and generate passive income around it, it holds little value in terms of today’s real dollars.

So, I put it to you, as the reader: What do you recommend I tell my daughter when she enters college in 15 years?

Do I tell her to follow her heart, and do what she loves, for the money will follow? 

Do I explain to her it is good to do something you love, but let’s worry more about making sure you are making money first, and are well-fed? 

What do you think?

As a Dad still traversing the world of practicality versus the world of following one’s heart, I would love to hear your thoughts …

sophia with butterfly wings
My Sophia

Peter Bongiorno is a naturopathic doctor and author of Healing Depression: Integrated Naturopathic and Conventional Treatments.

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