If you make these 7 mistakes, you’ll never find your calling in life

Can you hear a voice calling to you, telling you the direction your life should take?

I’m speaking metaphorically here because if it’s a real voice, then it’s probably your dad telling you to cut your hair and get a job.

JK.

The truth is, so many people go through life not knowing what they should do with themselves or feeling like they’ve really discovered their purpose.

For some people, that’s no problem.

Honestly.

Lots of people are perfectly happy not to think about it and just live their lives taking things as they come.

But for others, this is a serious worry. So many of us feel like we want and need some direction in our lives to imbue them with meaning and answer the question of why we’re here.

If you’re one of those people who wants to find your calling but nothing seems to be speaking to you, it could be that you’re throwing obstacles up in your own path. 

If you make these seven mistakes, you’ll never find your calling in life unless you make some serious changes for your own good.

1) Not knowing what a calling is

When most people think about finding their calling in life, they think in functional terms. They say to themselves what should I be? What job should I do?

But your calling is something more like what you should do with your whole life. You have limited time on this earth. Amazingly, we only get 28,835 days for the average 79-year-old. Doesn’t sound like a lot, does it?!

So you’re really trying to find out what you should do with the precious time you have.

Psychiatrist Victor Frankl, who was also a holocaust survivor, had this to say about the massive importance of finding a calling:

“Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.”

Yes, this can be about finding a career that gives your life meaning. But your calling might also be to become a great mom or to take care of orphaned children. It could be to become a person who spreads joy in the world.

The point is that if you’re focused on actual paying jobs and careers and trying to find your calling only in that space, you might be missing what’s right in front of you.

2) Never saying no

I’m as much of a people pleaser as the next guy, or even more so.

I know the draw of trying to make people happy and do things to help them.

At the same time, I know that there’s such a thing as having boundaries and enforcing them. I’m working on it!

One of the hardest things for us people pleasers to do is to tell someone no. We worry about letting them down, seeming unhelpful, or just looking downright mean.

But if you’re not able to stand up for yourself and say no to protect your own boundaries, you’ll end up not being in control of your own life.

You’ll be continually bombarded with requests and influences.

“Can’t you just help me for a few minutes?”

“Could you do this one little thing for me?”

If you keep saying yes and taking on everything people throw at you, you’ll never be able to find your calling because it will be drowned out by the sound of all these requests.

3) Changing your mind

Whether you want to call it flip-flopping, waffling, or whatever, constantly changing direction could be one of the major mistakes you’re making in life.

Why the world is aligned against waffles, I can’t say. But I can tell you why constantly changing your mind is such a problem.

It basically means that you’re too easily distracted to recognize what your calling might actually be.

I know what it’s like because I have tons of different and very disparate interests myself.

But the truth is that if you let yourself get pulled every which way all the time, you’ll never be able to figure out if you really should have pursued one of those directions.

I’ll bring up my old friend, Ashkan, to illustrate the point. 

In school, this guy blew everyone away.

He was a talented speaker, played some groovy stand-up bass, killed on the basketball court, and was apparently some sort of mathematical genius. 

Right after high school, he decided he was going to be a professional jazz musician. He joined a few projects and started his own band. 

He was actually doing pretty well when he suddenly changed courses, quit playing music altogether, and went into sales. I met him one day and asked what had happened, and he said he thought sales was what he was made for.

He was actually great at it!

But that was before he decided to go to college and study advanced mathematics.

Last I heard, though, he hadn’t finished his degree.

While it might look like Ashkan was trying to find his calling, I think he was too unfocused and easily distracted by all the different things he was good at. If he keeps letting this happen, he might find himself constantly searching but never finding.

pic1831 1 If you make these 7 mistakes, you'll never find your calling in life

4) Quitting

Getting halfway through a project or a course and then quitting is another mistake you might be making – over and over again.

I have another friend who is a habitual quitter.

I first met Lina when she came to volunteer with a charity project I was working on. She was lovely and enthusiastic, and she seemed to enjoy the project very much. But then, just a little over halfway through, she abruptly told me she had to go.

She was a volunteer, not a prisoner (even though the work was really tough) – she could go anytime she wanted.

But I wanted to ask her why for fear something had happened. Her answer, though, was that she just didn’t feel inspired to continue.

Well, so it goes.

She left, but we kept in touch.

Not long afterward, I got a message from her saying she was about to start a month-long silent yoga retreat where she would take a vow of silence that also included using her phone.

Ten days later, I got a surprising message from her saying she’d left the retreat because she knew she had to go train seriously as a yoga teacher in India.

She’d found her calling, she said.

Great!

I’m sure you’ve guessed that the next time I heard from Lina, she’d left her course in India as well.

This kind of pattern can make you miss your true calling because you’re afraid of putting in the effort to follow it even when the going gets tough.

5) Letting others tell you what to do

If you constantly let other people dictate the terms of your life and tell you what to do, you’ll almost certainly be pulled in a direction that’s not toward your calling. 

I’m talking about situations like your parents forcing you to study something you don’t want to or to take over the family business. 

They might push you hard to do well and succeed, and their reasons might certainly be altruistic. They might think this is certainly the best path for you.

But if you simply follow a path laid out for you by someone else, you might miss out on the real path you should be walking.

I know it can feel like it’s impossible to refuse, but you really have to be in touch with yourself to find your true calling, not blindly following others.

6) Letting fear hold you back

There are times when people figure out their calling in life, but when the call comes, they don’t heed it.

This is usually out of fear.

Sometimes, you can figure out something that will make you feel great, something that aligns perfectly with your values and allows you to use your unique talents.

And yet, it may seem like a huge leap, or it might require so much life change that you’re afraid to do it.

At times like these, when you feel deep certainty that you’ve found the right path to walk down, the thing you should do is feel the fear and do it anyway.

7) Believing there’s only one true calling

This is like believing that there’s only one person out of the 8 billion on the planet who’s right for you and no one else would ever do.

A calling is something that gives your life purpose and fulfills you. Why couldn’t there be several of those?

If you spend your life searching for the one and only perfect thing, you may end up overlooking many really excellent opportunities instead.

If you make these seven mistakes, you’ll never find your calling in life. 

But if you start to make changes and listen more to your heart, you can turn things around and perhaps find that elusive purpose in life that you’ve been searching for.

Marcel Deer

Marcel Deer

Marcel is a journalist, gamer, and entrepreneur. When not obsessing over his man cave or the latest tech, he’s failing helplessly at training his obnoxious rescue dog ‘Boogies’.

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