Are are people really naturally interested/good at something?

<p>I've been hearing my entire life that you should find out what you're good at and what you're interested at in order to pursue that in life. For example, if you like biology, major in biology become a doctor. If you like stocks/bonds, major in finance and become an investment banker. ETC.</p>

<p>However, from personal experiences and from what I've heard from other people, isn't it possible to become interested in anything you study? For example, I've heard stories of people who wanted to become a doctor but then joined a mock trial team and decided to pursue law. Also, let's say a person gets an internship (randomly) at a dentist's office and learns much about the profession. Don't you think that person would be inclined to become a dentist as well?</p>

<p>If you do really well in a subject, don't you have an urge to learn more about it? - even if you never thought pursuing it as your career?</p>

<p>Sorry if I did not explain this in the best way possible. To summarize - I believe as long as you gain knowledge in a subject area and (hopefully) were successful in it (meaning you got an A), does that mean you become interested in it? Or are there predetermined interests in us that we are supposed to find?</p>

<p>No...you don't always get good grades and are interested in it. I'm good at math, but I don't like math and will never take math courses beyond what I have to and have never "had the urge" to learn more about it. Same for biology...did well in the class, have no urge to learn more about it. I'm just not a person that's interested in science. I don't think there are predetermined interests in us that we have to find - you find them by learning about things and through experiences to decide what you like, whether or not you're good at the subject.</p>

<p>
[quote]
To summarize - I believe as long as you gain knowledge in a subject area and (hopefully) were successful in it (meaning you got an A), does that mean you become interested in it? Or are there predetermined interests in us that we are supposed to find?

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Neither. I did really well in my chemistry and economics classes but I have no interest whatsoever to pursue those subjects any further. We also have a number of science majors who are constantly struggling because sciences are not their strong areas, but they are so interested in the subject that they want to pull through with the major anyway.</p>

<p>I think people are generally interested in something when they derive a profit from it, ideally both internally (you enjoy doing something) and externally (you are rewarded for your good work). Talent and success, the two factors you suggested, both concern external rewards. (When you are good at something you are more likely to be successful.) But I think that what you actually enjoy doing, independently of any external reinforcement such as the pace of a course, grades, others' praise etc, is somewhat random and much determined by your personality. Your personality in turn develops over time and is definitely not pre-determined. </p>

<p>I believe that someone's interests are shaped by her experiences. Of course it is possible to become interested in something you study. How would you ever get interested in something that you are not exposed to?</p>

<p>People say "find out what you're good at and what you're interested at in order to pursue that in life" but they actually mean "find something that you are good at and enjoy and then pursue that." I could be chemist, but I would be a very miserable chemist. I would enjoy writing advertisements, but I would not be able to make a living from it because I lack the creative and communication skills necessary to be successful. The message is to find something that you are good at and enjoy.</p>

<p>Basically...if there's something you would go look up randomly on wikipedia just to procrastinate...there's your life's calling.</p>

<p>bio here~</p>

<p>lol huang, I agree with you. I'm majoring in anthropology (concentrated on physical/biological anth), and I LOVE randomly googling/wikipedia-ing/reading things about like neanderthals and the human genome project and chimpanzees.
I also agree with hj. I'm good at math, I usually make A's in all my math classes (the pre-cal algebra/trig class I took in college was jokingly easy for me and yet there were people in my class who were failing, it boggled my mind). I am always the one helping my friends with math homework and the one people ask when they want to know, "Hey what's 30% of so-and-so?". BUT I am really bored by math, I don't particularly like it at all, I just happen to be good at it. I would never EVER major in anything remotely related to it. I mean, who really WANTS to learn linear algebra??? ewwwww.
But I happen to love history, especially human evolutionary history and biology and things like that. Which is why I love my major and do very well in it as well (almost all A's, only 1 B out of like 8 classes).</p>

<p>
[quote]
Basically...if there's something you would go look up randomly on wikipedia just to procrastinate...there's your life's calling.

[/quote]

What if you look up EVERYTHING? =/</p>

<p>The thing that I most want to do in life (naval architecture) would be impossible to do since I'm terrible at both math and drawing. Trust me, I've tried making things work but it's just not how my life's going to play out.</p>

<p>I don't think grades determine whether or not you like the subject, and I'm not sure if you can just MAKE yourself become interested in something. As for me, I've known what I wanted to do since I was 5, yet I also happen to be naturally good at science and english courses. If I wasn't good at them, I wouldn't give up. I'm not good at college-level chem and I'm still pursuing the major I set out for from the beginning, despite the fact that chem (and organic) is a requirement.</p>

<p>According to the late Dr. Donald Clifton -- an industrial-organizational psychologist who did lots of research about matching people to jobs, and identifying people's talents -- the things that people like to do tend to be the things that they are naturally good at.</p>

<p>His research also found that if you give training to someone who's already good at a task and you give the same amount of training to someone who's not good at something, the person whose skills will improve the most is the one who was already good at a task. </p>

<p>Consequently, Clifton says, one should play to one's strengths.</p>

<p>I highly recommend reading his book, "Soar with your strengths".</p>

<p>I've always been interested in architecture but I've never had the talent for it, so I never pursued it.</p>

<p>Try googling the article: Why talent is overrated.. I even bought the book :-)
It's a discussions on why people are good at something - it doesn't give all the answers, but it is great.</p>

<p>I'm one of the lucky ones: I'm good at math, I love it, and I will make a career out of it. About linear algebra: That's not real math. Most of it is calculating stupid things, and I think no true mathematician likes to solve equations or such stuff.</p>

<p>Thank you for your responses! I was just thinking about this because I'm a freshman in college now and trying to find the major that's right for me. While here, I constantly get pressure from counselors to "find what you like" or "find what you're good at" when this is very difficult because in my academic career, I usually found some part of what I was learning interesting. In my first semester, I must have "switched" to 10 different majors! </p>

<p>I ask advice from my family and fellow students why they decided to major in what they are doing. I feel like high school serves as the point in people's life where they find out what they want to do in life, and honestly I never did because I became interested in whatever I was studying by the end of the year. At the end of eighth grade, I thought I wanted to become a math major because I understood the material. (I've heard many people with this experience.)</p>

<p>Again, thank you for responding. I will continue to search different careers and subjects until I find the one that I believe is most rewarding. (I think that's what I got from some people here).</p>

<p>I can get good grades in subjects I don't like, but it's somewhat more difficult for me. I am lucky, though; the two subjects I really light up in are both fairly new sciences with a lot of potential for research, so I think I can make a decent career out of one of them. (I'm planning to double-major in Psychology and Genetics.) I think it's more that I do better in things I'm already interested in prior to taking a class than me becoming interested in the subject as I do well in it. </p>

<p>Is there anything that you keep coming back to as really fascinating? You sound like you've got a bunch of different interests which are confusing you as to what you should focus on. If you have one that recurs a bit more frequently than the others, that might be worth focusing on for a little while. Alternatively, you could try to go with a major that bores you the least--that is, it might have the fewest subjects in it that you don't find interesting. For instance, I love the evolutionary biology and genetics aspects of my genetics major, but I'm less-than-thrilled with all the chemistry I have to take to get there.</p>

<p>One of my friend said he is naturally interested in males.</p>

<p>So I guess yes.</p>

<p>OP's statement is confusing me because if that said person who wanted to be a doctor now wants to be a lawyer, isn't law another thing he is "good" at or "enjoys"? I really think we all have things that we naturally like/dislike and are good/bad at. Simply because it took some knowledge or initial success to discover it doesn't mean you never had a natural taste or skills for it.
P.S: as a math enthusiast, I can not let all this trash about math go ;) Math is awesome and if you need proofs, look at the rubik's cube. That is a physical manifestation of some abstract math. Also, computer graphics use complex algorithms that use mathematical proofs as support. Also, I agree with Alexander that math is MUCH more than boring calculations. However, linear algebra (if we are talking about more than just y = mx + b) is MUCH more interesting than mere calculations. How is pondering about planes in nth dimensions, looking into fractals, doing regressions for functions, and doing proofs for theorems mere calculations. It's by far the most interesting math class I have taken in my high school yet.</p>

<p>Linear Algebra has been my favorite math class as well, but that was the advanced undergraduate / introductory graduate version of the course. Matrix arithmetic by itself is rather dull.</p>

<p>^^ agreed. Sadly, most intro classes aren't like that. :-( ... and most of what goes beyond belongs into abstract algebra. Which is awesome. :-)</p>

<p>Linear algebra is fun as long as you do not need to do all the trivial computations associated with matrix multiplications. Everybody already knows how to do the basic computations and therefore it is totally worthless to train on doing them by making an endless amount of matrix operations by hand.</p>

<p>Math stopped being about "How fast can you calculate 6*7?" somewhere in 4-6th grade, after that it is just about learning new logic operations which is kinda like a never ending stream of new puzzles. Studying math is not work, it is a leisure as long as you go about it in the right way.</p>

<p>Not all interests=something you’re good at</p>

<p>guys, this thread is 4 years old</p>