happiness

do you have a calling?

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This question is one I get often. If you had asked me this just a few years earlier, I would have shrugged my shoulders and brushed off the question. For a long time I think I was searching for just that: a calling. 

A singular thing. That ONE BIG idea that I was put here to complete. A reason to get up in the morning, a purpose that transcends just keeping myself alive day to day. I was constantly search for something, but could never pin point quite what is was. 

Then one day the lights went on. 

It wasn't an exact moment, it developed over time. As if I had just woken up from a long car ride, and had that feeling of "how the heck did we get here?" 

I am still unsure of the idea of a calling. Perhaps because of it's religious context, it feels limiting to everyone at times. But I do believe we have things that we are put here to accomplish. Whether planned in advance, or found along the way. 

We all have a unique personality, strengths and weaknesses. Difference that separate us from anyone else on this planet today, before us, and after we leave this earth. There is only one of you

Because of that, we all have the ability, drive, and passion to do certain things that others may not. 

For me, it started with art. TO be honest, art was the only thing I cared enough about to pay for a college degree in. And at the time, society was telling me that I needed a college degree. 

But after years of missing something, all of a sudden, it just clicked. I felt a drive to change the way we look at life. A desire to help every person I come in contact with live a fuller, freer, more meaningful existence. 

Maybe one day I will have a word for it. That is part of all of this. Understanding how I was on of the lucky few who got to this point. 

But the reality is, we all have those moments. We all have the moments when we have a really good idea, a deep pull to do something. And it is our choice to listen to that deep desire, or let is pass us by. 

I have recently been making my way through Elizabeth Gilbert's Big Magic. A life changing book if you have the time to read it. Here was her view on ideas: 

"I believe that our planet is inhabited not only by animals and plants and bacteria and viruses, but also by ideas. Ideas are a disembodied, energetic life-form. They are completely separate from us, but capable of interacting with us - albeit strangely. Ideas have no material body, but they do have consciousness, and they most certainly have will. Ideas are driven buy a single impulse: to be made manifest. And the only way an idea can be made manifest in our world is through collaboration with a human partner. It is only through a human's efforts that an idea can be escorted out of the ether and into the realm of the actual" 

At first read, I thought Liz had lost it. Ideas floating around like butterflies, looking for the perfect victim to land on. Seemed a little too woo-woo crazy, even for me. 

But when I was able to think on the idea further, I began to wonder if this is why I struggle with the idea of a calling. 

A calling insinuates that we have one thing. One specific thing that we were put here to do. But I have a hard time with that. I have always been a flighty creative soul, floating from one project, one idea, to the next. So I have a hard time grasping this concept of a singular calling. 

That is why I was lost for so long. I was looking for only one thing, not realizing that there could be so many things that I could accomplish in a lifetime. 

When putting Liz's idea into perspective in this way, it was enlightening. Throughout out lifetime, we may be taken by several ideas. We may shift what we are doing - even if only slightly, like a ship captain adjusting to unexpected winds. 

We all have those moments of genius. Of clarity. Of an idea that we just know is BIG. But too often we let it go, assuming it is trivial, or impractical. Could we be missing out on our calling at that time? 

We will all have several of these moments throughout our life. So don't feel that it is ever too late to be that which you are meant to become. 

If you missed your first chance, or your second, or your tenth, the good news is that you will have many more chances. If you live to be 80 years old, that is over 29,000 days of living. That is a lot of chances to start over, being something new, pick yourself up after a failure, and to truly live you life to it's absolute fullest. 

We all may have several moments of calling throughout our lives. Our job is to quiet our fear long enough to listen. 

And above all else, JUMP. You only get to live today once. Make it count. 

 

how positivity cultivates resilience

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I was reading Positivity the other day, by Positive Psychologist from UNC Chapel Hill, Barbara Fredrickson. Barbara has dedicated her life's work to the study of positivity. For so long, psychology was dominated by the study of negativity. Seeking to find cause and cure to the ever increasing depression that plagues our society. 

Not long ago, Barbara and other brilliant psychologists decided to turn the tables not his idea, and start studying the other side of the spectrum: positivity. Positive Psychology was born. 

In her book Positivity, Barbara talks about how cultivating more positivity can make us more resilient. It is proven that naturally positive people carry higher resilience than their not so positive counterparts. 

Resilience helps us to better react and recover from tough life situations that may come our way. Positive people are better suited to handle themselves in tough situations and bounce back after an event much quicker. 

A section of her book really hit me...

"...resilient people are highly attuned to the ever-changing circumstances in which they find themselves. They are emotionally nimble. They react to what is happening now, not to what-ifs. They don't spend time worrying about the future. Instead, perhaps appreciating that they can cope with whatever comes their way, they adopt a wait-and-see attitude. They're also quick to tell the difference between good and bad - they don't overgeneralize or overreact. They minimize their angst by cutting out advanced worry and afterglow obsessions, focusing instead on reality of the present moment." 

I feel like this is something so many of us struggle with. It is so easy to get wrapped up in the what-ifs of tomorrow. Spending hours ruminating about what could happen or should happen. But we really have minimal control over events that cross our path. We simply can control our thoughts and reactions to those moments. 

How different would things be if you too adopted this wait-and-see attitude? Choosing to live life in a much more intuitive, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of mindset. How refreshing would it be to just focus on now, and not worry about tomorrow? 

There are times where thinking about the future is very beneficial. When we are visualizing our goals and dreams. This visualization can help us work through our thoughts, and form a clear vision and path moving forward. 

But when we start thinking through the negatives. the what-ifs of what could happen or what could go wrong, this visualization is no longer beneficial, but rather severely detrimental. A good question to ask yourself is simply: 

Is this useful? 

A certain amount of worry can be good, to safeguard us against danger, and to keep us alert, and in the here and now. But once you pass the point of a thought serving a purpose or bringing useful, it is better to discard the notion. 

Worry less about things out of your control. Think less about possible outcomes that do not match up with reality. Wait and see what happens before sending out the bat signal of despair. 

This week, try out being emotionally nimble. Let things roll off your shoulder. If you feel something getting under your skin, take a breath.

Know that a thought is simply a thought. And by increasing our positive outlook on life, we are setting ourselves up for greater resilience to safeguard against whatever life may throw our way. 

how to find true passion in your career

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We are often let a stray by the idea of following our passions. It is often said that if you follow your passion, you will automatically love what you do. This idea implies that a deep love for what you do should be enough to sustain you for life. But as I have discovered over the years, we need a bit more than love to build our dream jobs. This is not to say that passion is not important. But to have a career that gives you great fulfillment, there may be more that we need to investigate than just passion alone. True passion for something goes much deeper than simple loving what you are doing. 

Lately, I have see a boost in marketing around the idea of potential. When employers are advertising for a new position, it is often advertised that there is great potential for growth. That growth may be financial growth, or just a means of moving up through the ranks of the company. Either way, growth seems to be a big factor driving the job market. 

Today, my argument is, that to take a career from something you enjoy doing, to something you are deeply passionate about, you need purpose. Just enjoying something is not enough to sustain you day in and day out. You need to find a deeper purpose from what you are doing. That may be helping others, having an economic impact, spread the word about an important piece of information. Even if you love the day to day tasks that your job requires, that will only sustain you for so long if you do not have a deeper underlying purpose to what you are doing. 

I see this same idea being true for the topic of potential. You can love what you do, and have a deeper purpose for doing those things, but what happens over time? Even with a deeper purpose, if we are doing something repetitively day to day, we can grow stagnant. Or ever just comfortable. One of the most amazing things about being human is out potential for growth. To grow our minds, out abilities, and our overall understanding of everything around us and within us. So I stand to argue that to be truly passionate and fulfilled, you not only need a deeper purpose, but also potential for growth. You need to feel that you are moving in an upward direction one way or another. 

When you think about these concepts, your dream job sounds rather dreamy, huh? A job where you love you day to day tasks, you find a deeper purpose and therefor fulfillment for what you do, and you have the potential for growth whether that be growth of skills of growth of mind. 

But shouldn't this just be common sense? Why do so many of us struggle to find passion in our daily lives, especially when it comes to work? And how often do you hear of someone quitting their job, to pursue what they love, to only find themselves empty, broken and unfulfilled soon after? 

There must be some weight to this idea of passion being more than just love or enjoyment. Or maybe we just need ofter factors to come into play along with passion, to find greater fulfillment in our lives. 

True passion goes deeper than just surface level enjoyment. You must also find deep purpose and potential to have a career that will sustain your wellbeing for the long haul.