What do you want to spend the rest of your life doing?
In one of my favorite series, “The Stormlight Archive,” there is a fictitious religion known as Vorinism. One of its major tenets is to “find your Calling"; a profession or field of study to which you dedicate your life.
The religion teaches that those who find their Calling - such as scholarship, art, warfare, or farming - will be honored by performing that talent in the afterlife. Discovering what you’re good at (and enjoy doing) is seen as a form of worship, as those abilities were gifted to you by a higher power.
Choosing a Calling assists individuals in improving themselves and using their particular skills to the best of their abilities.
I think everyone can benefit from finding a Calling.
There is a lot of value to finding something you’re truly passionate about. Whether your “calling” is what you do for work or in your free time as a hobby, it can be a huge contributor to personal satisfaction and self-actualization.
Beyond personal intrinsic gratification, having a Calling can offer social and career benefits. If you have something you're extremely excited about, that's an awesome way to meet new people with overlapping interests and forge strong relationships.
In the novels, selecting a Calling is something you can do at any age. Generally it happens around the equivalent of the end of secondary school, and during university.
That’s where I’m at right now. These years are among those with the most freedom for exploration and discovery that I’ll ever have.
I am incredibly lucky to have already discovered something that I truly enjoy doing - software development and edtech entrepreneurship - at a very early age. Many of my friends either took several more years, or still haven’t found anything that conjures such excitement.
I may not end up choosing to become a software engineer as my career path, but I find it difficult at this moment to envision a future in which I’m not programming whatsoever (either during or outside of work).
Within the novel, you can change your Calling at any time, although most people choose not to. This also mirrors our world, where it becomes progressively more difficult to switch career trajectories over time. Or if you do, it's often something tangentially related to your previous profession.
Choosing a Calling does not necessarily mean seeking early hyperspecialization. While it encourages searching for talents, in my view, a large part of the focus should be around the exploratory period. The curiosity that drives you to discover.
The novels also consider what it means to have a skill you don’t enjoy using, or being forced to choose a particular Calling. Don’t feel pressured to do something just because you're good at it.
Additionally, if you choose to focus on something after minimal exploration, you probably missed dozens of potential Callings. Experimentation is easier than ever before - with the internet, you can learn about almost any topic, profession, or hobby to an expert level.
Discover something you enjoy doing. Do it (either in your work, or outside of it) to the best of your ability. And find fulfillment in the process.
Thanks for reading :)