What is your talent?
To use a different word, what is your gift?
And to use yet another word, what is your calling?
A Faceted Trio
Those three things I just asked you about?
They’re all different.
Sure, they all overlap (or at least they should), but they’re each distinctive and equally important to thriving. If life is an art, then we should want to do it well, to the utmost of our abilities. If life is an art, we should be striving to make our canvas vibrant.
So what makes these three things stand apart? Moreover, why do we care?
(First let’s take a moment to admire the fact that I just used the word “moreover” in a sentence without sounding pretentious)
Talents are physical or mental abilities. They’re not necessarily spectacular, or odd, or paranormal, they’re simply things you’re good at.
For instance, I have talents in math (I mean, I’m surviving calculus three and actually really enjoying it?) and science and whistling and balancing things on my big toe.
I do not have talents in singing, dancing (to an extent, I guess I do, but not really), guessing what you’re thinking, and being unattractive.
[Yes, that was your cue to laugh at my self-deprecating joke about how I can’t be unattractive. I’m so funny.]
Gifts, on the other hand, are extraordinary. These are things not everyone can just do. Talents are things that anyone could do, with practice, time, and the right sort of learning. Anyone could pass calculus three, given the right amount of time and the right tutor to help them learn.
Not everyone, however, can write a novel (or write it well). Not everyone can pull off a compelling character on a theatre stage. Not everyone can draw or paint wonderfully realistic pieces of art. Not everyone can write sheet music to their own songs.
These things are gifts.
When it comes to my gifts… well, I just gave two I have and two I do not have as examples so I guess I don’t even need to go into mine.
Calling is where talents and gifts merge with passion to create a purposeful direction for your life. It’s where you examine what you’re good at and what you’re passionate about to find where you’re “called”.
For instance, I’ve found that I’ve got talents in math and science, and a gift for level-headed problem solving. These three things meet up in what I’m majoring in: chemical engineering.
I’ve also found that I’ve got gifts in theatre and writing, which are where my hobbies are directed. In a way, hobbies are like mini-callings. Side quests, if you will.
Others may find their talents and gifts merging with passion in other areas, or in different combinations. It’s where they’re so many occupations out there.
The Truth About “Occupations”
I know I just acted like occupations were linked to calling, but here’s the deal: your calling is more than your occupation. It’s more than your “job”. Your calling is an expression of you. It’s all the little pieces of yourself bundled together into one expression of you that manifests as your passions, gifts and talents. It’s where everything about you is pointing toward.
Therefore, occupations are not callings. They’re tiny pieces of callings.
Living Out a Calling
If a calling is more than an occupation, how to we find it? How do we live it?
Well, you start by discovering what’s involved in your calling. If you don’t know where your gifts and talents coincide with passion, you won’t be able to find your calling.
So start there. Find the intersection.
From here, you have to embrace that calling. It’s not enough to write it on a plaque and hang it in your house so you can say “yeah, this right here, it’s my calling”.
You have to live it.
Your calling has to express itself in everything you do, every aspect of your life.
In a way, your calling is your art.
Your calling is what makes your life an art.
That sounds pretty important to me.
So let’s do it.
Let’s find our callings.
Let’s live them out.
Let life be an art.