Finding Your True Calling: Be So Good They Can't Ignore You
The more reading I do on this topic, the more I seem to realize just how many of us (as humans) struggle with this issue.
First off, there's a great book about this called "So Good They Can't Ignore You" by Cal Newport. Much of what I'm about to detail below can be found in this book.
Cal puts it simply: Your true calling is waiting to be discovered through hard work, persistence, and practice.
The vicious cycle of "not knowing what your true calling is" happens the moment you begin to question what/why. It's sort of like looking in a mirror. If you never saw yourself, you would trust that everything is fine, you are fine, your life is fine, it's fine. As soon as you see yourself, you begin to question and compare—it's the reason why to your own eyes you see each and every tiny little blackhead on your nose or out of place hair, but everyone else in the world seems so clean and put together. And the more you question and pick yourself apart, the worse you feel, the more insecure you become, and ultimately, you come to the conclusion that you are lost.
But what about those fleeting moments when you have none of those thoughts? What are you doing? You are most likely doing something you enjoy, and you are lost in the flow—lost, here, in a good way. You lose yourself in the moment, no longer aware of this external reflection to which you are comparing. You are back to living in the moment—away from the mirror, and away from questioning what/why.
There is absolutely something to be said about reflection and seeing yourself truly and being able to look at your imperfections and learn from them. But only when done through a lens of non-judgment, and unfortunately many of us struggle to maintain that lens for long periods of time.
As Cal details in "So Good They Can't Ignore You," the great artists, musicians, sculptors, athletes, etc., weren't necessarily born with a predetermined fate/calling, while the rest of us wander aimlessly to be given one of our own. They simply found something they enjoyed doing and kept doing it. They kept losing themselves in the moment, they kept engaging with the flow. And over time, through diligent practice and discipline, they became Great. And that Greatness is what radiates this energy of Knowing, Confidence, Creativity, Innovation, and in a sense, Clarity—a clarity so many of us seek.
The tough part is that this Clarity is not free. It is not given. It is not easy to acquire and it is often looked upon as Luck—some people find their calling, some don't. We make it even harder by referring to it as "a calling," this thing outside ourselves that we cannot control and we must wait for its arrival. This is false. "Our calling" is that tiny voice inside our heads that says, in this moment, this is what I want to do, this is how I want to express myself. We do it. Next day. Same voice. This is what I want to do. We question it—but why? Why do you want to do it? Will it lead to wealth? Will anyone care? Oh, what's the point... and then we give up.
You want to find your calling? Honor that voice inside you that wants to do something, trusting and understanding that you most likely do not know why. You have to embark on the journey of self exploration alone. You must follow your feelings. And after a while of searching, of daily practice, you will realize that you've been living your calling all along.