Your Calling: Deserving It vs. Working For It

More people know what their true calling is than conventional wisdom would indicate. In our instant productivity, cash-oriented society, the emphasis tends to be placed on how fast and often we are receiving a pay check, and what we are doing about making it larger. As a result we often pigeon hole ourselves into whatever is available for us to do as soon as we hit the work force. Every hole must be filled, and if you don’t have a job and are physically capable of filling that hole, our society dictates that you have a duty to fill it. Your feelings, your happiness, your relationships and the other intangibles be damned.

That is if you are lucky enough to find any kind of job anywhere.

It’s no wonder people don’t allow themselves the privilege of determining their calling. Or admitting to it. For I contend, as I said in the beginning, that more people know what their calling is than it appears. But they have been conditioned to ignore it.

There is a reason they refer to it as a calling. Something inside of you, (or perhaps a higher power) calls on you to make use of that unique blend of talent and passion for something that only you posses. Yet too many people do not choose to answer the call that they know they are receiving. There are many reasons for this refusal, (lack of immediate success, a lack of education about how to proceed, dismissive family members), but the biggest reason in my estimation is feeling that they don’t deserve to follow their own calling. That they somehow must earn the right to follow a calling before they proceed to do so.

“I need to prove I can get a Master’s Degree in something useful first.”

“I have to rough it and pay my dues first. I can go after my calling when I am comfortably retired.”

“It’s just a flight of fancy. I haven’t lived the kind of life that produces a Hemingway. (Or Beethoven or Schweitzer.)

And on it goes. We convince ourselves that we must be bestowed with a special status or given cosmic permission before we are truly worthy to pursue the calling we feel inside us.

Yet I ask you, why isn’t the calling itself special enough to convince us to follow it? For what else are we waiting, exactly? The truth is you already deserve your calling. You were built for it.

Now a calling won’t just unfold without effort. Following a calling takes hard work, research, perseverance, some pain and a bit of luck. Just like everything in life worth doing. But the fact that it may be difficult, often misunderstood, scoffed at or seen as odd doesn’t make it illegitimate. It just makes it all worth it when we finally achieve it.

What if we were trained and encouraged to discover and pursue our true inner calling from the very beginnings of our education? What if society were designed in such a way that doors were opened in each area for those that had felt called to same, as opposed to those who have a sterling resumes and great inside connections? How might things be different?

Are you pursuing your calling? If not, why not?


  1. I am definitely following my calling. After all, an MA in medieval lit isn't really good for much else. My problem is that I'm not 100% certain of how to take the next step. A PhD is a whole different animal.

    What is your calling, Ty?

  2. Thanks, Erik.

    My calling is the arts. Which includes writing. Not all of my writing is related to the arts directly, but I consider it part of the arts.

    My calling is to serve the arts in some capacity, hopefully with my writing. (Theatre especially, but other forms as well.)

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