Please help: i'm doubting the path i've chosen

John

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Hello everybody!

I'm new to this forum, but i'm going through a really difficult phase and i need some advice/to hear some opinions that aren't from people close to me (as i find it hard to know if they're being honest or just telling me what they think i want to hear).

I'm a 26 yo guy from Denmark, i'm studying to become an engineer, i've got around 3 years left until i'm done (still a year to go on my bachelors degree).

I'm also a musician and i've been playing music for around 15 years, and i've got a real passion for traveling - and these two things are the main reason that i'm now doubting the path that i've chosen.

These doubts started crawling into my head around 1 week ago. I had just returned home from one of the biggest adventures and experiences in my life - touring around in Europe with a famous band, playing a concert every night for 3 weeks and living on the road in a bus. The real "tour/musicians"-life that i've been dreaming about since i first started playing. I loved every second of it; even though i'm not a core member of the band i was touring with (i substituted for another guy) everything just felt magical; from playing in front of thousands of people to meeting some of my idols and getting to play on the same stage as them every night.
The conditions were often terrible for us - we were hauling tons of gear each day, we had no catering so we just ate whatever we could get our hands on, we didn't earn any money at all etc. - but it still felt like one of the most awesome things i've done my entire life. Not only do i get to play music every night, but i also get to travel and see new places every day.
Before the tour, i'd just thought of it as a once-in-a-lifetime-experience, something to try which would let me "move on" from my dreams of becoming a musician; i thought i'd feel better letting go after having tried it just once. But the opposite has been the case - it's as if the things i came home to now feel a hundred times more unbearable now that i know what i might be missing out on.

So i'm kind of depressed about the whole situation. Facts are, that as a musician, my options are very limited and the chance of getting a high salary and living comfortably are considerably less likely. Even though i'm a great musician (i'm much better at that than i am at being an engineer - truth is, i've never really felt "at home" in the scientific engineering world) the world does not really need any more musicians and the chance of getting "big" in the music industry is extremely slim.
On the other hand, if i want to become an engineer, i feel pretty certain that my options as a musician is going to be severely limited. Not only will i have a lot less time on my hands, i'll probably also be unable to ever go touring again since 3 or 4-week vacations as an engineer isn't exactly common here in denmark - usually it's around 3 or 4 weeks vacation in an entire year, and it's divided up into 1 or 2 weeks at a time. And even though i'll have money, i just can't help thinking: whats the use, if i'm going to resent the thing i work with every day?

Yet another thing that i think about a lot is the people close to me - and their expectations of me. My parents have always been worried about my career; they've supported me in everything but have always pushed me towards a university degree (partly because some of my siblings haven't got one which has put some of them in financial trouble). For the past 2 years while i've been studying to become an engineer, they've supported me a LOT financially so i could afford to pay rent etc.. They've given me around 5-600 dollars every month. Not only they, but my grandmother has been supporting me too - giving me a study-computer and other things in order to let me get my engineering degree. And they've only done this because i was getting a good education (they've been very vocal on this condition, which i definitely understand).

I'm sorry for the long post, but i had to get it all out of my system. Thanks for reading.
What do you honestly think i should do?
 

Todd Hicks

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Pursue music which is your passion and explore all of the money making options out there for musicians. In the meantime, finish your engineering studies so you'll have something to fall back on just in case. Also, consider working part time as an engineer and part time as a musician.
 

William Martinez

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I'm closer to this than you could realize! You know, you obviously have a lot of passion for music... that is your "Soul" calling. Life for you would not be living without music as part of it. You are at the beginning of life it seems to me, you sound young. Hold true to what is close to your heart. I understand your feeling of commitment to your family, with them helping you and all. Many options here. Switch your major to something that hits close to home, audio recording engineer? I know a wonderful gentleman who mixes and masters independently and does well financially. There are more options than u might think. The world is your oyster my friend, but we only get one shot to do it our way. Think outside the box for your solution. As long as your passion stays with you, youll be ok :) Whatever direction you take however, be forever persistent and diligent in achieving your goals in life.
God speed
 

MoreSuccess

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I don't think there is any simple answer here, both options have pros/cons. I would recommend writing down all the pros/cons of each choice. It helps to really see the full picture and maybe you'll think of things you overlooked. Consider every little thing, like the impact if you want to start a family, what happens if you get tired of touring, and hyrid options such as getting the degree under your belt and then go into music full-time knowing the degree will help you should you become unhappy. Perhaps you can still tour during summer breaks? I'm a big fan of doing what your passion is, but it also seems like you have this one time opportunity to get a degree, and the chances may be low you'd ever go back and finish it if you stop now. You can also switch jobs later, a friend of mine moved from mechanical engineering into IT architecture, and then into IT security. Whenever he got bored with a type of job he just took some training and moved on to something new.

It's also about your risk tolerance. I have low risk tolerance especially with a family so I needed a secure job with a dependable income, but I know others that do just fine going month by month not knowing how much they will make or whether they can pay the bills that month.
 

J E Roberson

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The biggest challenge you are facing here, you never mentioned.

The real challenge that won't get solved by either path is the teammate you seem to be neglecting. Your life time teammate is saying things like...

Facts are, that as a musician, my options are very limited and the chance of getting a high salary and living comfortably are considerably less likely.

Even though i'm a great musician (i'm much better at that than i am at being an engineer - truth is, i've never really felt "at home" in the scientific engineering world) the world does not really need any more musicians and the chance of getting "big" in the music industry is extremely slim.

I feel pretty certain that my options as a musician is going to be severely limited.

Does everyone in the world abide by those three rules? If not they may be a just your opinion of yourself.

If you can look at your above statements as thoughts and not be so connected to their truth 2 things can arise, the realization your relationship with this voice is the real cause of your stress and two if you can unite with your inner wisdom you will regain the confidence to make your own decisions without need for outside conformation.

All in all John since life is a long term equivalent of many choices, as long as you live through things, you can't make a wrong decision.

Last thing, we must remember when we are faced with options that the name on the path we take is where it will take us with very few exceptions. If a path stats with fear of what the family thinks that fear will always be in that area of life.

This means the choice you make is infused with the energy you make it with. However you feel, at the moment you make the choice will follow you through living out the choice. At every moment we can seek the highest potential for a better earth experience. Follow your heart and if you can't hear your heart work on the relationship with that voice in your head.

Hope this gives you the tools to be what I like to say "The Hero of Your Story".
 

Todd Hicks

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The biggest challenge you are facing here, you never mentioned.

The real challenge that won't get solved by either path is the teammate you seem to be neglecting. Your life time teammate is saying things like...

Facts are, that as a musician, my options are very limited and the chance of getting a high salary and living comfortably are considerably less likely.

Even though i'm a great musician (i'm much better at that than i am at being an engineer - truth is, i've never really felt "at home" in the scientific engineering world) the world does not really need any more musicians and the chance of getting "big" in the music industry is extremely slim.

I feel pretty certain that my options as a musician is going to be severely limited.

Does everyone in the world abide by those three rules? If not they may be a just your opinion of yourself.

If you can look at your above statements as thoughts and not be so connected to their truth 2 things can arise, the realization your relationship with this voice is the real cause of your stress and two if you can unite with your inner wisdom you will regain the confidence to make your own decisions without need for outside conformation.

All in all John since life is a long term equivalent of many choices, as long as you live through things, you can't make a wrong decision.

Last thing, we must remember when we are faced with options that the name on the path we take is where it will take us with very few exceptions. If a path stats with fear of what the family thinks that fear will always be in that area of life.

This means the choice you make is infused with the energy you make it with. However you feel, at the moment you make the choice will follow you through living out the choice. At every moment we can seek the highest potential for a better earth experience. Follow your heart and if you can't hear your heart work on the relationship with that voice in your head.

Hope this gives you the tools to be what I like to say "The Hero of Your Story".
You're right that we must follow our hearts rather than seek outside conformation to make key decisions.
 

Thora

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I would say with out a doubt GO WITH YOUR HEART. Why because I made the mistake of going to University because I'm smart. Because I can study. Because blah blah blah. I went because my parents wanted me to become a doctor or a lawyer! What I wanted was talked down because I wouldn't be able to make any money. Unfortunately I listened to my parents AND I made the wrong choice. I have NEVER forgiven myself for not going with my passion. I was miserable until I did!
Yes my parents think I'm bonkers but they love me no matter what. They can see that I'm so much happier now when I am following my passion and money .... Money will come to you when you follow your true path.
It is only fear that hinders you in taking the step, because you would upset someone in your family, I get that. But who is always with you until you pass from this world?
Answer thees questions: 1) are all engineers wealthy? 2) are all musicians broke?

Live easy!
Thora MJ
 

Mrnace

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Why not blog and do youtube videos around your band and the music you love. Teach others to play music, or somehow combine your music with engineering.

There are many options for you with in the music industry that you can go into and help you make enough money to live off it, if you are good at it and your have as passion for it as it seems for your post.

Send me a message if you want to know more.

Thanks

Nathan
 

Commanded Creation

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Hi @John,

Obviously you have the choice to choose either path, but it sounds to me like you're in between a rock and a hard place right now.

Being an investor, I try to look at things through a ROI (return on investment) perspective where they should be applied.

If we were to think of this music opportunity as an investment, is it an investment that you can "buy in" at a better price (continue with your engineer career while positioning yourself to be financially free so you don't have to worry about money when you pursue a music career)? Or is this an investment that you need to "buy in" before the price skyrockets (you need to do this while you're still young)?

What it comes down to is are you okay with being financially uncomfortable while pursuing your dream career, or do you want to do this in a safer way?

The choice is yours, and frankly, I don't think there's a wrong one.
 

Ethanbridges

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John, I totally hear you!!!

I know a bunch of engineers who really had the musical inclination and talent, though I haven't heard of anyone pursuing the musical direction after university.

Engineering and music are galaxies apart, at least if you try to fully put your heart on both. And the people from both are galaxies-apart different, too. Actually I bet you'll exhaust yourself if you decide to do them both "full-time".

But as others have said here, you don't need our affirmation. You have to think this thru though; don't delay it.

I can only say that doing them both "full-time" could be conflicting and tiring. Arts vs. sciences kinda thing. Could strike you on a deeper personal level. It may be tough, but you have to decide.

Good luck, buddy.
 
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Hi, John. I think you are very smart guy and the way you approach this situation is 100% right.

I agree with J.E. Roberson you have a lot of misconceptions about music industry. Yes, it's taugh to break into, but there was never a better and easier time to do that. Social media, youtube, smartphones, cheap equipment and software, crowdfunding, worldwide distribution channels (iTunes, Spotify) - all those things didn't exist 10 years before. Everyday somebody comes out on youtube, create a fan base, than they go to Voice or XFactor - don't win, come home, set up a crowdfunding compain, create their 1st album, arrange distribution through all channels at once (there are companies who do that very cheap right now). The good thing that they already have a fan base who buys their album, but now they can scale it (the second album is usually more profitable). My point is I already have some sort of a blueprint for this business and I'm not even close to music industry. I am sure they have much more unique and complex methods that not only your friends, but even me and you can't even imagne. Stop listen to the people who are not already succeeded in the area where you want to succeed.

Think about it this way, if you want to earn a lot of money, music probably is not the best industry. I mean, you can earn good money, but it's hard to earn A LOT OF MONEY. Usually they have a business plan (they don't initially, but in retrospect it looks like this):
1. Break into the music business.
2. Creating a brand out of yourself.
3. Invest money from music industry into the business around your brand.

Dr. Dre and will.i.am. did it. 50Cent admits that he makes more money outside of music industry. Just compare earnings of one of the most prolific artist of our time, Eminem, he did about $15 million by only selling records in 2014. Dr. Dre did $620 million that year because of Beats by Dre. Actually here is will.i.am talking about this:

My point is even though it is easier to break into music industry, it declines in a certain way. However, engineering is rising (all those Tesla, Hyperloop and SolarCity).

My advice would be for you to finish your degree while continuing to explore music. That way you will have more options in the future. If you for some reason still think about music industry after your graduation, don't even hasitate and go straight there. You are only going to be trully happy when you do what you love (kind of a silly phrase, but if you think about it, it's so true). Make sure you do your homework, you can't allow yourself to waste 3-4 years of your young life in the industry that you don't like or that won't make you any money.

It went a little bit longer than I planned) Anyway, hope you will make the right decision and good luck!
 

Erik913

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Hey John (if that's your real name indeed, but who cares),

First of all let me say that I haven't read all of the other comments so I might say something that has been said before.

From your post I can pretty much relate to your situation. Your mind is programmed to give value to opinions of other people and what you see or hear around you. Your family and basically everyone that you have ever known really pushes you to be educated in the field you're studying, to get the degrees, get a good job and.. basically waste away your entire life.

The biggest trap of being a human is that your mind can be programmed, influenced to a degree that you are no longer yourself and your goals are no longer yours. And it is, although you are intelligent enough to understand it, at least on an emotional level, which is very important - in your post, you talk about how you realized that your passion is, in fact, music and not chasing degrees, "education" and an ordinary life that everyone expects you to have.

You need to understand this: the decision of getting the degree you are trying to get is not yours. It is a decision of your parents, your grandmother, your friends perhaps and I don't know who else. Following that decision will not only be a waste of time, but also a waste of money (which you can use for example to market yourself, get better at playing or simply travel), waste of your precisious energy, talent and most importantly - waste of something what is most likely going to turn into a life-long passion - that is, if you will decide to follow it.

From my point of view, you have two options:


  1. Do as you're told to do. Finish the school, get the degree, get a job in your field, work hard and use the very little free time you will have to travel and play music. You will get tired of it after several years, if not sooner, and sooner or later, you will have to face the truth - that you just wasted away half of your life and the regrets are going to be huge.
  2. Follow your passion. At first, it will be much, much harder than just "following the herd" and obeying everyone else, but that's one of the things which will make your heart jump. On top of that you will be able to feel the incredible enthusiasm and energy you felt during your last trip all the time - that is one of the rewards of following your heart, instead of listening to your mind.

Making your parents, grandparents and everyone else happy is NOT worth your life - please understand that your parents/grandparents/other people pushing you are doing that solely for selfish reasons. You can either be selfish or unhappy. Remember though, we are biologically wired to be selfish - so that's not so much of an issue really.

You deserve to have an extraordinary life. Please don't follow what anyone says. Please, don't believe that "the world doesn't need any more musicians." By that logic, world doesn't need anyone and we should all just go and kill ourselves. You are unique and unless you have an identical twin, there is nobody exactly like you on this planet - which means, your music will be unique as well. Please, for the love of god, follow your dreams. You will regret it forever if you won't ...

EDIT: Don't even take money into equation. In fact, if you follow your passion with everything you've got, it is very likely you'll make far more money than if you were to follow the dreams of others.

Edit2: Dennis, the guy above me knows what he's talking about.
 
Last edited:

John

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Massive bump.

I feel like such a douche for never answering this thread. I'm sorry!

I want to say THANK YOU to the people that contributed to this thread. Even though i never answered, i did read every answer and took it to heart. I still return to the thread once in a while when i doubt my choices :)

As for an update, i chose the hybrid: i'm finishing my degree (doing my masters now), but only part time - which lets me do the music to a large extent at the same time.
This will ultimately mean that i will be delayed in my studies, but i get to do both and honestly think this solution fits me the best.
I also told my parents truthfully what i felt, and they understood - and even better, they encouraged me to focus on what i wanted to do, even telling me they would still support me if i chose not to study. So that was a relief!

After my masters, i will take a couple of years off where i can focus on the music.
This will also let me spend the next 3 years (while doing my masters) "building up" towards those years off, so that when i actually take a pause from my engineering career, i'll have some money and a i'll have created a "base" that i can build upon.

Once again, thank you, and sorry for the extremely slow response.

Cheers,
 

RodaTL

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John, you are not alone! I can relate so much to your situation. Mine was the exact opposite. I was a professional violinist for 30 years before I realized it was time to change something. I had passion for science and became a nurse, even though my parents (who had been just as supportive as yours many times) were against it at first. Once I became a nurse, I then added more into my life. I am currently a martial artist, registered nurse, real estate investor, digital marketer and a certified self-confidence coach. The hardest decisions are the once you make independently and in spite of what your loved ones think.
I completely hear your doubts with the money as a musician. You are right. I also understand that you and your family have committed immensely into your education as an engineer. No worries. I know an amazing real estate investor who bought his first real estate property at age 17. He kept buying more and more, all over the world. He is a millionaire today. He finished his bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in engineering because his family wanted him to. Guess what. He never worked a day in his life as an engineer.
So what could you do? You can drop out now, or you can finish your degree while maintaining your shape with your instrument and tour when you get a chance. Earn your diploma so you have something to fall on in case music doesn't pan out. You may be able to find employment online from home, who knows? Have the degree under your belt. Can you work part time so you can have more time to tour? Or can you build your own business and hire others to do the work while you tour?
On the other hand, calculate how much more money your degree will cost, and how much debt you will have to pay at the end. In the United States this is a very important factor, I don't know how it is where you live. Just understand that whatever you decide, somebody will be uncomfortable and that is ok, really. It is your life and you are the only responsible person as to how it turns out.
Do your homework and learn about as many engineering job options as you can to see if anything can co-exist with your passion for music.
Tell your family that no profession can protect you from financial trouble (since you mentioned your siblings). The only thing that will protect you from financial trouble is your decision to educate yourself financially, which has nothing to do with your choice of career. There are doctors, lawyers, company CEOs that earn tons of money but don't know how to handle debt and are slaves to their jobs. Then there are people who start from nowhere and become millionaires. It has nothing to do with your paycheck. Don't be afraid to make a drastic decision. But make sure you calculate the risk well and do what is best for you. I'd be happy to talk more with you if you need.
 
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Life is simple, don't over complicate this. To me it sounds like fear of job security is holding you back. Let me tell you man, there is no such thing as job security anymore. We live in a great era where there is more opportunity than there ever was.

I've monetised so many of my hobbies. The best advice I can offer you is this, learn how money works. Study money.

Money = freedom from oppression. Alot of people call me out saying I'm materialistic for saying this, yet I see it as freedom. I can do what I want, I can go where I want, I can pay for my own college tuition. Once you learn how to play ball then the game is easy. For instance, I've been trading stocks since I was 16, been buying and selling as well at that age, im now 21 and I run my own company (Inception Innovations) and I run a website called www.infinityillusion.com and I offer advice on how to do what ever you want, care free from obligations of things such as mortgage repayments or bills that need to be paid or food that needs to be put on the table.

I've done a couple of pieces on my site about it, check it out,

www.infinityillusion.com/rich-man-poor-man/
 

Angie Necole

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You reserve the right to change your mind. If something doesn't feel right, there is a reason behind that feeling you should listen. I felt the same way at one point. I thought I wanted to become a doctor. But when I started studying for the entrance exam, I was overcome with anxiety. I came across a quote that changed my life. It is "follow your passion and money with follow". That's just the way the world works. For everyone. That's why I stopped studying medicine, finished my degree in psychology, and now I'm trying to promote my personal-development blog. Which is my dream. And to create manga!

Feel free to check out my blog. It may help you.

Good luck!
 

Delcheva Ana

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Finding a true passion in life is hard my friend, what's yours?
I've read your story, and I've once decided to leave my career as a painter to work in consulting.
You can create a balance between the two professions but you can choose to dedicate to the one that'll make you happy in many ways.
I suggest for you to follow your instincts and your heart.

Love Ana
 

HereToServe

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Hey John!

I can relate to you man... It's not easy to choose... But it really comes down to this:
You have to choose between having a safe job, safe income, safe lifestyle or an adventurous one...

I think that choosing to be an engineer is not that great of an idea... You talk about this experience of traveling and playing so passionately. It's amazing. Having a safe income, money and so on isn't going to make you happy. There are plenty of examples around us. Many people achieve success through hard work. But to pull through the hard moments you have to have passion, you have to have belief and you have to love what you do. There will be hard moments in your musical career and in engineering. But in one case you will have the will power to break through and in the other case you will put yourself down and doubt yourself if you are on the right path...

I believe that you should follow your heart, you are still young, go out there, experience the joy of being a musician. Working in an office with no windows, and walls around you will always be there, if it doesn't work out with music, witch BTW I don't believe! Anyway, let the final decision be your own. The truth is you already know what you want! Your heart and soul already knows! You're just looking for support and approval of others. ;)

I hope it helped you. Feel free to message me if you need help or advise!

http://abundantlifestyles.launchpad.inboxblueprint.net/