I had the good fortune of learning from  wonderful teachers and professors. They were all experts in their chosen fields and their dedication is inspiring. The very thought of emulating them is to me, tempting and terrifying at the same time. I’m assaulted by self doubt. Is it possible to devote myself to my profession above all else? Is absolute devotion necessary to advance the field? Is it worth it? When I asked my nanotechnology professor he said ‘Yes’. Not even a single moment of hesitation. Then again, he is divorced.

Having given some thought to it in the past, I have come to believe that for most ordinary people like myself, raising a family and gaining expertise in a field of study are two separate, full time jobs. Hence it is important to list out our priorities before hand. If profession comes out on top, then perhaps its a good idea to hold off on family for awhile. At least, till we can find a partner who has complementing priorities. It is also important to honestly reevaluate these priorities when in doubt.

I personally agree with my professor. However, at the end of the  day, we should choose what makes us happiest even if there is a trade off involved. We need not be super heroes juggling a million things at once.  Judgement from well meaning family members, friends and colleagues be damned.


22 thoughts on “Priorities & Trade Offs

  1. It makes the decision-making process a lot clearer as you go along if you have already decided your priority. If you don’t choose, you won’t deal with things in a way that benefits anybody. Both things end up half-done.

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  2. I was in my last penalty course in the graduate school when I respectfully requested my favorite professor for a late enrollment. I told him, “My dear Dr M, please make me attend your class. Otherwise, I’ll let go of this schooling and get married instead.” He didn’t look at me. He took my enrollment form, signed it and said, “Marriage is impossible for you. Get the degree!” 🙂

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  3. happiness is actually quite subjective, it is not something which has an universal meaning and obviously its meaning differs from person to fact what i feel is that even priorities is also not something fixed, it too changes with time, it is always in constant flux. Though a bit discipline may help us in being static for sometime, but may be teleology of life is being ignored by modern society…

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    1. Thank you for reading…I agree with you..Happiness is subjective…that is why it is important to reevaluate our priorities honestly at every juncture of life…The modern society offers us the gift of choice..we can define the purpose of our life, ourselves…instead of confirming to preset norms and notions.

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      1. Yes I agree with choice theory but only a well educated and healthy person could exercise it in a better way, there are around 896 million poor people in world and for them daily meeting of basic necessities of life itself is a big challenge and expecting from them to exercise virtuous choice would be quite unfair to them..

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        1. You are right…but I think we must always expect more of ourselves and of others no matter how poor or rich they are…after all if people like Ram Mohan Roy had not done that, sati would still be a prevalent practice in India.
          Getting the economy going, while educating and empowering the peoples of our world is also of prime importance. The fight for choice and enabling people to make the right ones is an ongoing one and I suspect it will rage on forever.

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          1. yes i agree but only under an ideal situation person could actually practice choice making which is not the case though..sound economy is must for any nation for its stability and stability is also required for sound economy so things are inter related and the way distribution of wealth is happening in today’s world is apparently leading to a grave inequity which would actually badly hurt stability..simple example is profit margin on daily usable items which is generally more than when all are buying it in same rate irrespective of their income then obviously it is a worst form of exploitation…in fact success of any reformer depends on acceptability by people at large and which depends on the way people are being educated…

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            1. True…investing in value based education is therefore an important one for any nation…it is the only way to spread awareness about exploitation, capitalistic or otherwise and to bridge the gap between the poor and the rich with a growing middle class.

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              1. yes exactly…Gandhi had said that education without value could only breed Clever Devil..Values or ethics is required in every sphere of life but nowadays people are somewhat ignoring it for the sake of more profit intentionally or unintentionally..

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                  1. yes..that is how it is…one example is no one takes climate change thing seriously, even people doubt its theory itself..for what? for moolah/money…height of short sightedness..

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                  1. problem is everyone knows it but they don’t want to do anything because of petty interest..we are witnessing phase of collusive corruption where everyone is involved in corruption happily i.e both bribe giver and taker..and govt. reports itself acknowledge this…in fact not just in India but everywhere situation is same in modern capitalist world…

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                    1. We don’t see such extensive corruption here in the US…it is happening at higher levels perhaps…but you don’t see it in every day life…we can actually be honest and live a comfortable life here…that is what I love about this country ❤️

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                    2. actually in India too govt. reports talk about collusive corruption at higher level…big games are played by big guys..right? 😉 but yes local level corruption at India is far greater than the US because of lack of education, awareness and poverty..

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