Do you think chemistry and financial planning have anything in common? At first glance, you might overlook the similarities. But in my personal story, they are inseparable.
The Road Less Traveled
My undergraduate degree focus was on chemistry and biology. The hard sciences are a fascinating topic, and exploring the natural world led me to desire more knowledge in all facets of life. To quench this newfound thirst for knowledge, I began reading high-quality literature by the truckload. I had a long reading list, covering history, medicine, theology, self-help, business, and much more.
The difficulty became learning how to focus on the topics that mattered the most to me. Reading a little bit of everything is fun, and obviously informative, but you can’t make a living by sitting on the couch with a book in hand. As I entered my senior year, I began feeling pressure from friends and family to “find my passion” and pursue a career.
Luckily, I had recently stumbled on to a couple of finance books related to investing and financial planning. Although I had very few financial assets at the time, the subject matter sparked my interest and wouldn’t let go. During my senior year, I frequently brought my laptop to class and read finance forums during my seminar level chemistry classes.
Finding Common Ground
After graduating with my degree, I worked a few jobs related to chemistry. During that time, I realized I was far more interested in finance than chemistry. Instead of worrying about my past degree decisions, or continuing in a career that I disliked, I took the skill set obtained from those years of study and moved on.
Finance shares much in common with chemistry. Both fields demand attention to detail and draw highly analytical individuals. Both fields are (or should be) rooted in empirical evidence, not popular opinion. And both fields require a background in mathematics and statistics. On the other hand, there are some stark differences that helped guide my career decision. Many careers within the financial sector require working directly with people, which is something I value. The salary potential is typically higher, and the American economy currently offers more job opportunities to those in the financial sector.
With that in mind, I began trying to figure out how to transition into a career in finance. I considered several jobs, but eventually decided to pursue a doctorate in financial planning. Yes, that sounds a little insane, but I was recruited and paid to enter the doctoral program. I would incur no more debt, and I would be able to further build my human capital. That opportunity also allowed me to improve my writing ability through the application of textbook knowledge.
Carve Your Path to Success
I share my story to encourage other individuals. I believe that my situation has some very specific takeaways that can be applied to your life:
- Every situation in life is a learning experience – The past is the past. You can’t go back and change it, but you can make the most of it. You can either grow from your past decisions or you can complain and talk about “what could have been.”
- Focus on your strengths – We all have strengths and weaknesses. Being analytical is a strength of mine, and over the years I have focused on refining that skill. That decision continues to pay dividends through a career switch and multiple business opportunities. What are your strengths? Do you use those strengths to your advantage to improve your online presence?
- Become an expert in something – In 2016, the Internet is a busy place. If you want to rise above the noise and find success, you have to be knowledgeable. The phrase “content is king” is so old, but yet so true. If you want to attract an audience through content marketing, there are no shortcuts. Learn, learn, and learn some more about the topic you love, and then write.
We all have our strengths and weaknesses that make us unique. Learning how to refine and improve upon those strengths will set you up for success online, and throughout life.
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Jacob Lumby teaches more than 80,000 monthly readers how to build lasting wealth and secure financial freedom. In his free time, he is completing a Ph.D. To learn more about Jacob, visit CashCowCouple.com.