We discover ourselves and find meaning through the living of our lives. Through intention and action, we define who we are, and like rough stones in a tumbler, we rub against one another and through our relationships discover our truest selves.
When we are young, our potentials may seem vast. Choosing a career can be a daunting task for the young. When I’ve counselled my own children, young patients and others at a crossroads in their studies or careers, I draw them the four intersecting circles Steven Covey conceived in his book The Eighth Habit: your passions, your talents, your values and the needs of the world. Where these four circles intersect is your calling.
Joseph Campbell said, “Follow your bliss”; heed the call and do what you were meant to do. When you listen to life and rise up to meet the challenge, you will find meaning and purpose. This is your gift to the world. Your life is that gift.
The artist must create, the author write and the dancer dance. Engaging your greatest passions can tap a source of energy often needed at the beginning and end of a long day. My daughter, son and I each escape to the music room or the piano to engage our musical spirits when inspiration arises . . . or is needed.
On the other hand, the call unanswered is a life not fully lived – one that is fine or good enough but never great. Too often we settle with a life with which we are not quite content. We may seek to fill our feelings of emptiness with novel activities and material things – often dictated by others, including big business and media.
Sometimes we must do what is necessary or practical for the circumstances. Orphaned with the death of both parents, my mother and her siblings abandoned their personal dreams to support and raise one another and keep the family together.
They answered a collective calling to meet a great challenge and need, guided by their deepest values of devotion and love, each child contributing their own unique qualities and talents. The legacy of my aunts and uncles is a great, connected family that has survived and thrived with three generations of cousins today.
Imagine a world where joy is a collective and individual right and responsibility: all children are encouraged to discover what they love to do, supported in nurturing their talents, taught to respect their noblest values and rise to meet the needs before them.
The call can change throughout our lives. We may receive the calling to a profession or mission in early adulthood or even in mid-life. Your calling at age 26 may be to be the best parent you can be to your child. When your career is established, your calling may be of generativity. What can you give forward to others and to the future?
Each day, there are opportunities to follow-through with an act of kindness, a word of encouragement, a thank you or a helping hand to someone in need. There is a positive potential to be realized in each day. We must see, feel and act.
We must accept the gift of this life and make of this life our gift to the world.
Dr. Davidicus Wong is a family physician. For more on achieving your positive potential in life, see his website at www.davidicuswong.wordpress.com.