How to Succeed through Finding Your Calling

Tue, 11/20/2018 - 18:11

As Barack Obama once said: “You can’t plan out your life. What you have to do is first discover your passion – what you really care about”. Psychological research shows us that people who find a career path that they really care about are more likely to succeed. They are also more satisfied and more likely to find happiness through their work. Studying Psychology is one way to find your passion and your calling in life. What is that one thing you really want to do, to feel like you are “making a difference” in the world?

But, I hear you say, it’s all very well to want to find my calling, but let’s get realistic - I have bills to pay! And anyway, isn’t being successful really all about “Grit”? Psychologist Angela Duckworth has researched school and career success over many years and is convinced that highly successful and “gritty” people are extremely persistent. Indeed, being successful certainly is associated with hard work, being persistent, conscientious and having self-discipline. However, Duckworth has also found that the most gritty people she studied had an ultimate concern, otherwise known as a “calling”. Once you find something you are passionate about it won’t feel like hard work!

A very common reason for studying Psychology is to help other people. Whilst this is admirable, it is essential to remember that before you can begin to help another person you have to first help yourself, by developing your own strengths and skills, and by finding healthy ways to overcome or cope with difficulties. The University of Bolton MSc in Psychology is not only designed with mental health professionals in mind, it is also a great way for graduates of neighbouring “helping fields” such as teaching, social work and Human Resources to develop “grit” and find their calling


Antonia Svensson, PhD

Head of Department of Psychology

Associate Dean

New York College