When You Can’t Find Your One True Calling: Maybe You Are Destined to be Doing Multiple Things

When we were kids, adults used to ask us the question of ‘what do you want to be when you grow up?’. Some kids will answer silly things like bubble master, a ninja, or a french fry. And then there are those kids who will acknowledge being a doctor, a teacher, or an astronaut. You might probably answered better claims, but the truth is no one really care about what you say at that age.

Good for me because I was the type of kid who’s never been able to answer that question. It’s not that I don’t have any interest whatsoever, but instead I had too many. Especially during my teenage years – I was in the cheerleading team, I love Asian history, I write poems, I support environmental tourism, I was speaking Spanish, I love watercolor painting, I read a lot about Marie Antoinette, and I was rather interested in 1950s culture and the Baroque period specifically.

So when I graduated highschool, I couldn’t think of a major that I should suppose to pick in college. Eventually, I ended up majoring in Cruise Line Operations in international tourism. But my college major didn’t even matter 2 years after my college graduation.

Nikola Tesla, for example, was an inventor, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, theoretical and experimental physicist, mathematician, futurist, and humanitarian and can speak 8 languages fluently. Leonardo Da Vinci, for another example, has areas of interest included in drawing, painting, sculpture, architecture, science, music, mathematics, and many more. To add more people, there’s Aristotle, Hellen Keller, Benjamin Franklin, Jagdish Jandra Rose, and the list goes on.

Kids don’t hear much about these people. All they hear is the idea or destiny of the one true calling, the idea that we each have one great thing we are meant to do during our time on this earth. And you need to figure out what that thing is and devote your life to it. What I’m really trying to say here is that we tell kids, “you cannot be a ballerina and an English professor at the same time.”

You might feel alone, or you might feel like you don’t have a purpose, or something’s wrong with you. But what if you are someone who isn’t wired this way? What if there are many things you liked to do?


I came across a TED Talk titled Why some of us don’t have one true calling by Emilie Wapnick. Emilie talks about ‘multipotentialite‘, a term for a person who has many different interests and creative pursuits in life. She talks about why multipotentialites have no “one true calling” the way specialists do. She refers to an individual whose interests span multiple fields or areas, rather than being strong in just one.

She also used other terms that usually connote the same idea, such as polymath and a Renaissance person. That actually during the Renaissance period it was considered the ideal to be well-versed in multiple disciplines.

Emilie’s take away is for you to embrace your inner wiring, whatever that may be. If you’re a ‘specialized’ at heart then by all means, specialize. Embrace your many passion, follow your curiosity down those rabbit holes, and explore your intersections.


Leonardo Che Ritrae la Gioconda (Leonardo Painting the Mona Lisa), by Cesare Maccari

Comments

  1. Eduardo Maresca

    That is a very interesting post and I completely resonate with it. I haven’t come up with one true calling and I have always been headed in multiple directions. Yet there is a great overarching theme behind the scene: finding the ultimate meaning of the whole existence and, in the process, raising my level of consciousness

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  2. Helen

    I resonate with this so much! I have also come across the concept of this personality type quite recently and I was kind of relieved I don’t “have to” have one goal or passion and I can in fact pursue multiple goals or even careers. πŸ™‚ The idea of a true calling is so present in society, but I guess it is really a bit overemphasized…
    I wrote a blogpost about this topic as well recently, however it is in German.
    Have a nice day πŸ™‚
    Helen

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      Marron Santillan

      Halo Helen, thank you so much for reading! Wie geht es Ihnen? I wish I can read German, however, you are right. We don’t “have to” choose only one passion or goal because we are not limited to that. I appreciate you for sharing your thoughts. Vielen dank!

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  3. markbierman

    I’m an author, but my ‘survival’ job is in law enforcement. If only I could make a living at the former. πŸ™ Yes, there is nothing wrong with multiple ambitions.

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    2. Akpederi Raymond

      That will always be a job. You calling is one thing check through events of life most celebrities are known for one thing. So catch it Jesus christ came with just one purpose.

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          Marron Santillan

          To be honest I was thinking about my ‘mission’ in life last night before I went to sleep. Thanks for reading though and for sharing your thoughts, really appreciate it!

          1. Akpederi Raymond

            Only God can reveal in clarity but there are little glimpse and patterns one that reoccurrs in different in different manifestations. Take care. I pray that God gives you a revelation on that by his mercy it is a hard thought process and can be scary not knowing why you have certain skills, talents, energy etc. Grace abounds. πŸ‘

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  4. Eduardo Maresca

    I identify with the topic of this post because in my life I have always explored more than one life purpose (never abandoning the most overarching quest for the ultimate meaning of life that encompasses all specific life missions).
    However I remember reading a book by S. Pressfield entitled “Turning Pro” that puts forth the interesting alternative that turning pro in a specific area is not something we do after we have eventually found who we are but rather is the very thing that can help us find who we are: β€œWhat we get when we turn pro is, we find our power. We find our will and our voice and we find our self-respect. We become who we always were but had, until then, been afraid to embrace and to live out.”

    The idea here is: turn pro by becoming exceptionally good at something and a life purpose and mission will follow. I didn’t exactly do that but it sounds like an interesting perspective

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  5. tminzie

    I could not agree more with this, for some reason from a small age it’s often drilled into us that we have to do one thing but I don’t believe that for a second.

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