Every human being, by virtue of his/her genetic makeup, is radically unique. It’s a scientifically proven fact that no two humans have a similar genome. In addition, the specific wiring of our brains, and the experiences that we go through in our lives, make each one of us, a truly special package. Think of this uniqueness as a seed that is planted at birth, with the unlimited potential of growth. In discovering your calling in life, you have to find your own uniqueness. What sets you apart from others, what is your special gift? The next question is how? Well, there are three ways you can try to find it. Let’s look at each one of them.

The Primal Inclinations

The signs of your uniqueness are most clear to you in your early childhood and that’s where you have to look first. These are called “PRIMAL INCLINATIONS”. For some people, these will be much obvious. They can easily remember moments from their childhood when they were deeply moved by something. Something that filled them with a sense of “wonder and awe”. An experience that transcended language. Something that can not be explained words. But for others, some digging might be required. What you are looking for are, moments when you were naturally drawn to certain things, without any external influence. When you were unusually fascinated by certain objects or activities and forms of play. It’s actually like a voice from inside. Let’s take some examples.

The great Polish scientist Marie curie, who discovered polonium and radium and was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, could distinctly recall a moment from her childhood. She was four years old and entered her father’s office (himself a scientist), at that moment she was absolutely mesmerized by the sight of all these tubes and measuring devices for various chemistry experiments. Throughout her life she continued to feel a thrill whenever she was in the presence of such a scientifically loaded environment. What filled her with this mysterious thrill when she saw that scientific equipment, obviously it was her unique mental makeup and her specific genome that drew her towards these things? She understood that, and followed this voice. 

For the Great Russian playwright Anton Chekov, it was attending his first play in a theater as a boy in his small town of Taganrog. The drama, the theatricality and the whole environment of make-believe fascinated him to the core (Chekov was probably one of the most amazing people that ever lived and I am planning to write more articles on his life and the lessons we can derive from that). For tiger woods, it was watching his father hit golf balls into net in the garage and being unable to contain his excitement and desire to copy him. For the great writer, Jean Paul sarte, it was a childhood fascination with printed words on a page and the possible magical meanings each word possessed. Remember , they are not just ordinary moments when a child gets excited at seeing any new object, instead these are moments when you are moved by something suddenly, without any parental interference, and in a way that’s beyond your comprehension and almost impossible to express in words. Most often these memories stick to your brain for quite some time and you can easily remember that feeling of awe and wonder you experienced.

The Mentor Magic

Sometimes these moments can come later in life, on seeing people who are masters in their field. For example, as a young man Akira Kurosawa, the great Japanese director, felt lost. He tried various things but nothing really clicked. Once he was working as an assistant director, and was almost ready to quit when he got assigned to work for the director Kajiro Yamamoto in 1936. Watching this great master at work, he felt like a whole new world of creative possibilities had opened in front of him in the form of film screen. As he later described his feeling “it was like the wind in a mountain pass blowing across my face. By this I mean that wonderfully refreshing wind you feel after a painfully hard climb. As I stood beside Yamamoto in his director’s chair next to the camera, I felt my heart swell with that same feeling….. I’ve made it at last”

Swimming with the current

As another sign, look for moments in your life when certain tasks felt very natural and smooth to you, just like swimming with a current. While doing these things, you could easily take the pain of practicing and tedium. If you were criticized or discouraged, that didn’t demotivate you. Such activities are certainly a part of your calling. In this way you’ll slowly mark the outline of the field of your true interest.

Decoding the Genome

What you are doing in this process is that you are essentially rediscovering yourself. You are trying to get to know the real, genetic “YOU”, which existed before external factors started polluting you with their own ideas and agendas. It’s because as we grow up, our original sense of like and dislike is very much clouded by the overarching, mainstream culture of the society and our immediate circle. We tend to like what they like and hate what they hate. In this way, slowly and gradually our own sense of preferences fades away. Now your task is to subtract that and move back in time and try to reacquaint yourself with your primal inclinations.                                                                             

Put some time into it

You must also remember that in the culture that we are living in and how it suppresses the original inclinations of people, this process is not going to be easy and quick. You must put some time and energy into it. You will need to continually introspect and assess yourself for some time. In doing so it’s better to keep a journal in which you should record your observations and analyze them. Other important thing to note is that once you have spotted a broad field for yourself, you should experiment with the various branches to find your specific genre. For example, if you think you are a writer, you should experiment with different types of writing to find your specific interest. Similarly it might be the case that you find yourself in two or three different fields, in that case your destiny must be to integrate them and create a distinct blend.

To sum it up, you must put some time and energy into finding your real calling in life. Once you find it, it can be a decisive factor in giving your life a sense of purpose that keeps you motivated every day.

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