…Those would be the exemplary pieces of advice in Dutch, English and in French that some of the Seniors living in Belgium would like to share with the young adults prior to them choosing their career or studies.

OrientaEuro is carrying out a “Seniors and Youth” project approaching Seniors of Brussels and asking them about their own life and professional experiences, and the possible regrets or mistakes they had made throughout their lives so that you can make the best school and career choices by learning from the elders’ experience. Here, we will share with you some of the advice we think is still relevant nowadays.

We know it is hard, yet doable at the same time, to learn from somebody else’s mistakes. Therefore we believe we should keep trying, and profit from Seniors’ experience. We truly believe everyone should feel satisfied and happy with whatever they choose to do in their lives. Recently we have been talking to Isabel, Fabrice, Chantal, and Vivier to hear what advice they had to share.

Isabel Navarro Cadenas

Isabel originally comes from Spain but has now been living in Belgium for over 30 years and is happy, satisfied, and full of energy.  To answer our initial questions on talents and passions she says, “not everyone is talented but everyone can be passionate about something.” Life brings many surprises along the way, but even though Isabel has been moving countries and changing her work place numerous times “she [has always] used her talents in the composition of jewellery thanks to her talents as a drawer”. Isabel emphasizes that “you could make a living out of your talents and passions but you need to go more in-depth and always keep on improving to become better and better.” She believes “that is the only way, as being superficial is not enough and will not work out well”. Regardless of her past experience and difficulties that life has brought her, Isabel still believes that “you should follow your passions. It is crucial to fight for them. No matter what!

There is something important that she noticed, notably that “unfortunately not everybody is apt to discover their talents. Sometimes we are not directed well enough to discover them. Sometimes we are not well guided to understand that we should actually search for those talents.” We also have to realise that things change, they evolve, including our talents and passions. Isabel says: “there is a great evolution in our life as well as in our talents and passions.” No matter what moment we are at, we should always take the time to look within ourselves and find our talents and discover what makes us passionate and then pursue them with the final objective of feeling happy and satisfied.

Fabrice and Chantal emphasise more the importance of your own, internal voice. Chantal directly acknowledges her regrets and says, “ she should have listened to [herself] more than to the people around [her]”. Fabrice agrees and makes a reference to an internal music: “we have to listen to our internal musicand he advises us on the ways we can hear this music: “you have to take some time to listen to yourself and not to rush some of the decisions you make in life.” Furthermore Fabrice warns us thatsurrounded by all the friends, family and external daily influences we might miss our happiness. We don’t pay enough attention to our internal voice and we risk only finding ourselves at 40, realising that we had been doing things we actually didn’t enjoy”. Besides getting to know yourself better, he suggests, “to accept yourself, to accept your own mistakes and not to be too harsh on yourself” in order to make your life more pleasing.

Vivier, ahead of his first book publication in Belgium, thinks it is feasible to be passionate without having any talents; just as it is possible to have talents without being passionate about them. The ideal situation would be to have a combination of both: to have talents and to be passionate about them. Maybe sometimes it is just a question of correctly identifying our passions and talents? Vivier stresses “the importance of prioritising what we are passionate about, over the sole financial income” and strongly encourages the young people to confront their life: “Be independent, never conform to others, and start discovering how beautiful life is!

This is the first series of advices from Seniors. Click here to see more >>

You can learn more about the “Seniors and Youth” project here.