Wednesday, May 04, 2011

What's your calling?

I wonder how many of us ultimately end-up doing what we really want to do i.e. achieve the 'Self Actualization' need in Maslow's Need Hierarchy. How many of us know what we want to do? And how to know what we want to do? The answer to the last question probably is trying as many things as possible. But how many of us try different things? Many often we mistake a particular liking as our calling.

Lucky are those who know their life goals from their adolescence and accordingly pursue study and careers to achieve them. Some find their paths while in college or university. But many of us struggle to find it even in our work lives. The question we ask - "Am I in the right job?". This makes us restless. The switching (of careers) cost poses an obstacle. The thought of jeopardizing the calm and comfort of our 'settled' lives is sometimes overwhelming. Ultimately the question dies down immaturely. And we carry on whatever we are doing even if it is unsatisfying.

At the death bed we do not want to look back and think that I should have done this or done that. May be imagining this unfulfilled end often will help unsettle us enough to ask ourselves if we are on the right track.

A few days ago I was chatting with a friend. He said there were many people who want to do something but don't know what to do. Indeed! We need help. We need counseling. We need a way to know our dreams , our capabilities and the path to achieve them.

Around a year ago, we were having an informal session at our IIM Calcutta campus with our seniors who passed out 25 years ago (This was part of the fest called Reminiscence). They were around 50 years of age and were  in the senior/top management of reputed companies. But a handful of them started doing something of their own. I had asked them what prompted them to leave cushy jobs and venture on their own. In reply, they mentioned of a kind of dissatisfaction with the existing scheme of things around the age of 40 - a mid-life crisis. Though late, but it is good that they have found their respective paths.

I guess, not all go through this crisis - the questions of whether they are doing the right thing or using their talent optimally. They are happy with the status quo. But the troubled souls need a guide, a counselor to make their full potential flourish . Where to find one?


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