Every individual has their calling and at some point in life or the other we tend to ask ourselves ‘what is our calling? What is the purpose of our life? What did we come to this world to do?’
Most ardent and contemplative souls resort to reading more and more about how they can find their purpose and pursue it throughout their lives in a quest to find meaning and contentment. Studies show that ones who view their work/profession as their calling rather than just a career or a job have a higher life and work satisfaction. So what exactly is this calling or purpose?
Meaning and contentment come from a personal investment in what we do and the intrinsic fulfillment we get from it. It has nothing to do with financial gain, social advancement, or any other type of external reward or motivation. It is about doing something that we love for the sake of doing it. Exerting effort and spending time on passions that light the spark inside of us and allow us to share with the world the unique gifts we possess.
Previously we had no idea what all of this even meant, never before did we stop to take a moment and think about what we found intrinsically satisfying or fulfilling. Monetary gain, external validation, and boosts to the ego were pretty much the only drivers we knew of. More so, “calling” meant having one passion we were born with to pursue relentlessly. Growing up, we have heard all these stories about people knowing from a very early age what they were meant to do and then dedicating their lives to doing just that. I had even witnessed this with a celebrity chef whom I got an opportunity to meet and get to know better every time I met him after the first time. Yet, here I am, almost 24 years old and with no clue regarding this passion I was supposed to have figured out a long time ago.
Referring to Jessica Beltran’s articles, I came to understand these truths about our purpose in life through which she was able to find her place in this world:
- It is not limited to one passion. Our purpose can consist of various different things that make us tick and feel alive. Pursuing our calling, therefore, does not mean we must devote our whole existence to just one thing. We can, if that is what we desire.
- It doesn’t need to be grandiose. We don’t need to change the world in a dramatic way or surrender our lives to something greater than us. The more we do in service of others the more fulfilled we’ll be. No doubt about that. But finding our purpose can be just as simple as finding the bliss that motivates us to wake up every morning and engage with the world that surrounds us.
- It’s not always static but can change with time. Some may have been born with a clear-cut passion they want to spend their whole lives on. However, not everyone figures out their calling early in life and certainly not everyone devotes their entire existence to it. As we grow and evolve throughout the different stages in our lives we may discover new passions and desires that shift our sense of purpose and calling. We are constantly changing and developing so there is no reason why our purpose shouldn’t. What motivates us today may not do so tomorrow.
- It doesn’t have to align with your job or career. They say we should do what we love and money will follow. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Many times there is no professional version of our pursuit or the opportunity costs of doing so are just too high. More so, the pressure of turning our purpose into a career can end up killing our passion and inspiration.
So if you find it unmanageable to align your career with your purpose in life don’t believe you need to give up one or the other. You can have a job or a career that provides structure to your life, stimulates your advancement, and pays enough to secure your financial freedom while still pursuing your passions on the side in whatever ways you can. Try to find joy and meaning in whatever occupation you hold, considering the amount of time and energy you invest there. But don’t let it stop you from doing what you love.
We all have a longing for rich and engaged lives that give meaning to our existence. The difference resides in how we go about accomplishing this. And that is where our purpose lies. In finding the force that keeps us moving forward with zest and zeal. Wholeheartedly and with full spirit.
We must each find our own “shine.” And then… shine on.
Business Development Executive
IRIANS- The Neuroscience Institute