Personal Growth - Find Your Calling
by Akber Ayub
Eliot’s words echo a profound truth. If you’re an adult, and haven’t yet found out what you were meant to do, or having found out, are unable to live your life’s mission, then read on – for it’s truly never too late to discover the life you were meant to live, and start living it.
Consider this core question. Does your present job, apart from helping pay your bills, honestly give you any happiness? In other words, do you go through the grind of a nine-to-five-job, suffering Sunday-night blues, only for the financial security it brings? If the answer is an unequivocal yes, and you are stuck in a career that is not fulfilling, then you haven’t found your true calling yet.
It's never too late to be what you might have been. – George Eliot
To come to first base, have you ever longed to do work that would truly help express yourself, your intrinsic talents and values, that would allow you to lead a more balanced life, work that you positively love to do? Who hasn’t? Fact is, we all have a need to express ourselves through our work, we all have an inner longing for self-fulfilment, to do work that would feed our spirit, and through it, enhance our chances of finding real, lasting happiness. Not the fleeting thrills and brief joys that life brings along, but a deep inner satisfaction and joy that comes out of knowing that we have found our personal mission in life, our raison d’être. When an accomplished actor says, “I act, therefore I am”, he is referring to this very same thing.
Think it is too far-fetched, impractical? Let’s digress for a moment. Have you bumped into anyone lately who displays some of these qualities?
A deeply felt happiness, someone whose soul is not starved, whose work seems more like play, who works with intensity, yet spends quality time with family and friends, who appears truly ‘alive’, loving the work he does, and the life he leads? If you have, then you’ve met someone who has discovered his true calling in life.
Finding your life’s work
Okay, so how do you find your true calling? Every one of you, at some time or the other, has found something that fired your imagination, perhaps only occasionally, but nevertheless something that revved you up, or something you were naturally drawn to when you had time on your hands. Or perhaps it could be your constant pursuit in childhood, something you were good at and enjoyed doing. It could be music, arts, a subject they taught you in school, colours and shapes, mechanical things like automobiles, or the workings of gadgets in your home, or spending time with nature, wandering and discovering you were good with words or figures.
Anything, in fact, that you loved doing and found rewarding. Depending on your life situation, or parental and peer pressure, you’ve either followed it to a fulfilling career, or lost it on the way with the passage of time. Know this, however: those passions and joys were a precursor to your true calling; they are the passport to the life of your dreams.
Sometimes it may not reveal itself so early in life. It could be as late as mid-life before you begin to feel a general dissatisfaction with life, or a longing to find a more meaningful work. It might be a feeling that follows you everywhere – a feeling you can’t shake off no matter where you go: you just know that something is “missing”.
There is a reason for this empty feeling It is this disillusionment with what you are doing presently that can ultimately pave the way, if you venture to take the required steps, towards a change in life direction and ultimately to what can be called “natural livelihood”. A mid-life crisis might act as a trigger, creating a new awakening; or a hobby might suddenly appear more meaningful. Sometimes you go through a serious crisis involving physical or emotional health, and come out the other side with your calling.
However, once you discover your calling, even late in life, and make a firm resolve to pursue it, events unfold that seem to guide you towards your goal. Call it universal guidance, power of your intention, or what you will, but once you are on the path to self-fulfilment, nature seems to prod you along towards your destiny. You discover a new spirit, a new energy, you find life taking you on uncharted routes, and you begin to feel renewed and fulfilled. No wonder researchers studying longevity have found that true work satisfaction is one of the key factors that actually prolong life.
At times you may feel just a vague despondency with your current life situation; and a yearning to find something more meaningful – an awakening of the soul as it were, and a search for your true calling. To identify it you need to first identify your natural abilities and your true values, the realities of life that you truly appreciate. It calls for introspection and self-assessment. What makes you feel most natural? What kind of work feels most effortless? What makes you jump out of bed in the morning and what grabs your interest so deeply that you lose track of time? Answers to these questions will help you identify your true calling. This is how it works: your intention to know yourself better, your sense of purpose, will bring forth intuitions and insights that will first reveal your true self to yourself.
Next, you need to reckon with this: what would you really want to be if you could choose? You need to decide what you want your life to be like, and then figure out a practical plan to get there. Spend time in quiet reflection. Reflection helps us step back from the details of our lives and see the bigger picture. If you enjoy the process and are focused on it, realizing that it is also a spiritual unfolding, the energies of the universe and the workings of your inner world will help you in avoiding bad choices and picking wrong values. Your present life is the result of the choices you have made so far. However, after your right choices have become clear, start the process of incorporating them in your life – for the truth is, life doesn’t make us into what we are; we create our life ourselves.
Take the leap
Of course, no one says all this is easy. There will be difficulties, obstacles, fears, worries and resistance from within and outside; but if you’ve made up your mind to follow a calling that is uniquely yours, if the idea of doing what you truly love appeals to you, if you’re prepared to make commitments rather than merely defining wants, then embark on a journey to uncover your deepest yearnings and desires, your passion… your true calling and align with them – to create a life for yourself that you were meant to live.
When faced with difficulties and obstacles, use them as an opportunity to delve deeper into your inner self and unravel strengths you didn’t know you possessed. Everyone has them; while faced with seemingly insurmountable difficulties if you refuse to give up and look for answers within, you will then discover that inner core of hope, strength and tranquility that exists in all of us. Find a resistance from within? Try to unravel it – is it the fear of change? Fear of risk? Doubt in your own abilities due to past failures? Look at the possible underlying reasons. If you work at it with zeal, make it your current mission, you’ll find that you can resolve most of your difficulties, and with your new-found strength you’ll discover that even the seemingly difficult issues don’t pose such a big problem, after all. When you are on the right track you’ll notice that things flow easily.
If self-doubt assails you remember this: we enlarge our capabilities in our fantasies; there is no reason why we should limit ourselves in real life. We might find it difficult to step out of our self-created limitations but remember the only thing that can hold us back is ourselves. We will have to own up our life and realise that we are responsible for our own happiness.
Need a blueprint for success? A prescription based on natural wisdom and metaphysical truths would read like this: feed your subconscious with positive feedbacks and let the power of your mind go to work. Seek out the company of positive people and let their good vibes energise you. Keep your attention constantly on your goal and acknowledge even small gains. Nurture your natural curiosity; keep an open mind willing to accept changes in your life – discarding the strange comfort you find in clinging to who you’ve been. Pay attention to your skills, your natural talents. Sometimes what you can do reflects what you are. Your true self is who you really are, and it is never too far from you. You only need to gain an awareness of it and recognise it for what it is. Then, it becomes easier to recognise your true calling. And finally, this pithy truth: you attract success when you are aligned with your life’s mission.
A word of caution! You need to guard against living in your fantasies. You need to be grounded in reality. Just fantasizing about the possible outcomes will result in your plans remaining just ‘a pie in the sky’. Working with commitment towards your goal, and living joyfully in the present is a sure way of moving towards your future. Also let not ego come in the way of your progress. Step out of your ego and let your projects unfold naturally, you being a facilitator sometimes, or an observer, wherein you step back and watch the course of your life, as you proceed toward an as yet unknown destiny with an expectant and positive attitude. Sometimes attitude is everything. (Actually, read that as always!).
This is the process of exploring your true potential, and learning how to achieve it. If you perceive that there has to be more to life than what you’re presently experiencing, if you long to be whole, then you need to unravel your life purpose, the mission of your soul, and begin to live in the flow of your purpose. Don’t miss out on your true calling. Reclaim your life; move through the process and discover the difference between just living and living authentically.
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