I remember being in high school when teachers would give us aptitude tests to help us determine what we should “be when we grow up.” As someone who ended up studying psychology, and continues to be fascinated with it, I always found these to be pretty fun. I really felt like it would help me determine my future. And yes, these tests gave some good insight into what my skills were and what I liked to do but they were pretty vague. Mine always resulted in careers that "help others." The test would suggest a career in social work or nursing. Don't all careers "help others" in some way? I wasn't exactly getting the insight I needed that would steer me in the right direction or towards what I really wanted to know; my calling in life. They felt as accurate as the quizzes I took in my Seventeen magazine (remember those quizzes; Does He Like You? Is Your Best Friend A Backstabber?) It didn’t really provide any real value as to what I should be doing with my life. Then one day, while doing the one thing that sets my soul on fire, I realized, to really know what my passions are I should simply ask myself:
What’s the one thing that I would do happily for free?
For me, that one thing is writing. I’ve been writing for a long time and it’s the one thing I will probably do ‘til the day I die, whether I get paid for it or not. I think many of us have that one thing, or two or three, that sets our soul on fire and makes us genuinely happy. Sometimes that thing changes and sometimes it's consistent. Either way, we all have something that we're passionate about. There are other questions you can ask yourself to find what it is that you should be doing with your life:
- How do I enjoy spending most of my time?
- When do I feel the most productive?
- Which activity do I get lost in the most?
I think many of us, sadly, are programmed to think that our passions won't make us any money especially if they're more on the creative side. In college, I met a lot of pharmacy and pre-med students. Many of them really wanted to be in those fields but a majority of them wanted to do other things but had been pressured by their families to pursue careers in medicine. I'm all for pursuing a career that is traditionally lucrative but I truly believe that the secret to finding your calling is finding what you love- that thing that keeps you up at night with excitement. And yes, the money will come... in abundance!
What's your calling in life? Is it what sets your soul on fire?