Dramatic Question: What if your fate was pre-determined?
Premise: Happiness isn't getting what you want, it's wanting what you've got
Story Message: Fulfilment comes not from doing what you do best, but from mastering what you thought impossible.
Given that social mobility is decreasing, great talent has a 'discovery' problem. Instead of being nurtured, it will languish in obscurity (and poverty). Given the population explosion and the law of averages, we'll have more talent available than ever before. It is imperative, then, to find a way to identify and harness this talent for the benefit of society.
Despite Malcolm Gladwell's eloquent description of the 10,000 hour rule, we know from experience that it doesn't hold up to scrutiny. There are clearly people who excel at something without spending the requisite time practising, whereas other must spend far more time to even come close to them. Some prodigy hardly practice at all.
The truth is, nature counts a great deal. True, nurture can help even the odds, bit the combination of the two will always make the absolute difference. Some people are just naturally better at certain things than others. We shouldn't be surprised that not all people are created equal.
Epigenetics has complicated matters, however. It seems that the environment can trigger certain genes to turn on or off for dramatic effect. Perhaps, this is an amplification of what's already there? Suffice to say, we are learning how to super-humanise ourselves. Nevertheless, you are born with certain predispositions, which you ignore at your peril.
Given that nature and nurture play such an important role in human development, it's not a leap to say that much of yourself is predetermined before you reach puberty. You can pursue the things you love, but you might never be really good at them. And, given the increasing amount of competition for relatively few positions of greatness, being really good is not the same as being great - and, even then, not the same as being "the best".
While individuals go in pursuit of happiness, society has other demands. Large populations demand greater resources, scientific breakthroughs, and more social control. Governments are not going to sit back, while their citizens waste precious time (and resources) going in search of themselves - especially, when the technology becomes available to pre-screen and determine what a person is best suited for. Taken a step further, epigenetic data and simulations could be used to determine what triggers would amplify what response in a particular individual. For example, if Hitler had become an art student, as he'd intended (before he was rejected), we may never have experienced Word War II. It may become a political imperative to pre-conceive what people's destiny should be in order to make them the most productive members of society.
So, if people want to pursue their dreams, and those dreams are at odds with what is pre-ordained, they have a problem. They can either accept reality, or fight against it. Their sense of happiness and fulfilment is at stake.
The purpose of this story message is to confirm the premise - but not in the way that is the most obvious. It's true that it's no use to want something you cannot have, but, equally, you may discover that once you got what you wanted, it wasn't worth it.
Some people will be happy to conform and, subsequently, excel at what they do. But, without having to struggle for it in the first place, it might not hold much emotional value in the long run. Living a life without free-will is not far off slavery and, perhaps, not a life worth living.
For those whom life is about the "journey" and not the destination, they will be persecuted for shirking their duty. Nevertheless, they will know what it means to be free and make mistakes from which they might actually learn something. This won't be easy. They will be expected to do as they are told, for society is depending upon them. Not all will brave the trials and tribulations. After all, they may discover that, like a well-arranged marriage, they can learn to love; that there are other people that know better than they do what will truly make them happy.
Our story, however, will focus on the ones who fight the odds and discover that there is a third way: that by challenging yourself to tackle something you are not good at but want to understand is, in itself, a source of immense satisfaction. For no matter what is said, we weren't born to fulfil someone else's agenda, but to make the world a better place for ourselves and the ones we love.