Imagine an unending buffet and you are given a chance to eat there.It has a long table with a vast array of unknown dishes. But a condition is put forward i.e you have to keep on going forward and tasting the dishes. you cannot go back to the dish you like and once you stop you cannot move farther. There will be three kinds of people in this buffet

  • Type 1: These people choose the first dish they like and eat only that
  • Type 2: They keep on moving forward in the buffet until they reach the dish they love and afterwards they continue eating the same dish day in and day out
  • Type 3: The kind of people who keep on moving forward eating all the different kind of dishes along the way

For the sake of simplicity, I have put the type of people into these three major buckets. There may be many more. But that is not the point of the above story which I received as a Whatsapp forward.  The true question is who among the three would you say have found achieved their one true calling?

Logic says it is the Type 2 people. Whilst the Type 1 people settle for whatever comes to their hand, Type 3 keep on moving in life or in other words do not settle down to the one thing that they love

This article is about the type 3 people. I do think it is great that the type 1 and type 2 people have found something which they like, but what if you do not have that one true calling and your life is all about engaging in as many experiences as possible.

So how do you identify a type 3 kid? Simple ask him/her the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” and you will see the rush of anxiety on their faces.

It is these kids who grow up to be type 3 adults. Adults who have varied interests but not one particular true calling. For example, I am interested in Technology, Sales, History and Finance. But ask me to focus completely on any one these areas and I will get bored.  ( Disclaimer: My profession is that of a Solution sales person. This enchanting mix of Technology and Sales has  helped me stave of boredom in my career, at least for the last two years ). I have spent time and money in all the above interests. But somehow I always get bored when I pursue just one relentlessly. Right now, I have taken an interest in the subject of logic and am spending most of my free time and money on this front. Will this become my life long interest or be one of those things like basketball on which I had a fleeting with intense interest or would it bloom into something I am fairly well versed at and come from  time to time to brush up and learn new things on that front ( THe best case scenario)

But who says that I should have one interest which I should follow my whole life? It is our environment. The environment around us which says that we should pick our interest and that will be our one great thing which we do day in and day out. For example in many children’s books the query “What will you be when you grow up?” is not an answer with multiple choices. The funny thing is nobody expects a 5-year old to know the answer to this question. But then why do you constrain their imagination as to who they might be by not providing them the multiple choices

The concept of one true calling is a recent phenomenon. Have you ever heard of the term Renaissance man? Wiki refers to this state of person as

Polymath, a person whose expertise spans a significant number of different subject areas, referring to the renaissance time period.

The Antiquity and the Industrial revolution was created by renaissance men. Leanardo Da Vinci was a painter, inventor, sculptor and an architect. Aristotle was a physicist, Biologist, writer, politician and philosopher. Benjamin Franklin was a politician, Inventor and Business Man. These men whom I just mentioned and heralded the world over as geniuses. Just consider for a moment how different American History would have been if Benjamin Franklin had decided that Business is his one true love and had stayed away from politics?

Herein lies the fallacy of the concept of one true calling. It is an artificial construct created by today’s culture and environment. Of course, there are some people who love to do that one thing and become masters in that front. But not all are wired like that and it is OK. Emiliy Wapnick calls this kind of people multipotentialites. You are a multipotentialite. This is not an affliction is you need to overcome. You need to grab it by the horns for you are the idea synthesisers and rapid learners who can adapt to any kind of situation and change the world.