“Our destiny is frequently met in the very
paths we take to avoid it.”
Jean de La Fontaine, Fables
The idea of the ‘calling’ is cliched and abstracted by now, but it still exists. Many of us do indeed have a true purpose in life, and to put at least a little bit of effort towards discovering it is one of the most worthwhile things we can do for ourselves in the long-run. These are just a few tips…
Don’t look for it.
Seek and ye shall not find. The longer you spend actively searching out something as abstract as your ‘passion’, the longer such a realization is likely to elude you. Immerse yourself in purposeful activities and it won’t be long before you intrinsically know your purpose. If you jump the gun and declare your ‘calling’ too soon, you may end up fooling yourself. No reason to rush; handle the process with grace and slow down your search so you can enjoy life. That’s what this is about in the first place, after all.
Do what you enjoy as often as possible.
If you’re loving every minute of every day, you won’t worry about having to figure out what you’re supposed to be doing– you’ll already be doing it. Think intensely about what you want out of the limited amount of time you’re given to interact with this strange sphere we call home. If you could devote yourself fully to one activity, what would it be? If you could surround yourself with any people in the world, who would they be? If you could choose one achievement you want to be remembered for posthumously, what would it be? These are big, daunting questions, but the longer you consider them the less fear-inducing they’ll be.
Once you get healthy exercise and eating habits in place, you have more time to worry about the bigger questions in life, if for no other reason than because you feel better about yourself and can function more optimally. Treat your body as a machine for helping you achieve what you want. The higher quality treatment you provide it with, the fewer physical and mental obstacles you’ll subsequently face. Healthy diligence is also a great way to stay grounded and keep your priorities straight. Building self-discipline will help immensely once you figure out what you want to devote your attention to in life.
This is just a simple way to set priorities and realize what you’re truly thinking. I often don’t realize what my thoughts are on something until I’ve written them down. Creating lists for yourself will help.
Surround yourself with stimulating people.
You’re a product of your environment. If your environment happens to be populated by dull, under-motivated people, you’re likely to adopt at least some of their negative habits. On the other hand, surrounding yourself with people you can look-up to and share your positive habits and aspirations with is mutually beneficial.
The beautiful thing about a good book is it allows you to live through certain situations and conjecture on them in your own way. You can empathize with a character– well-written characters reveal to you aspects of your personality that could otherwise go unnoticed. The more you read, the more you know, not only about the world but also about yourself. If you’re trying to figure out your calling, so to speak, reading, like exercise, is an auxiliary activity that, to be frank, makes you a better person. There are no negative side-effects.
Even if it’s just for 90 seconds, take some time to just sit with your own thoughts everyday. There’s so much stimulation nowadays; we rarely get any alone time even when we’re alone. There’s always a TV show on or a song stuck in your head or a new facebook message. Unplug and count your breathing for a bit each day to facilitate clearer thinking about your ideals.