What’s Your Calling?

According to Confucius, if we choose work we love we will not have to work a single day of our life. Under this statement lies a simple truth, choose to do something you love regardless of the material reward and happiness will be found.

This may sound idealistic and simplistic, and indeed it is on the surface. The alternative is to work for money, fame, glory all of which can be taken away in an instant by one’s mistake or someone else’s decision.

To clarify the matter we need to give a definition to the following terms, Job, Work, Career and Vocation.

A job is what you have to pay bills and have money for your spare time. The priority is on time off and personal leisure times.

Work may or may not be of your choosing, it is mostly to allow you to fulfil the requirement of daily life with some extra for spare time and allocated holidays.

Career is already different, the view being an upward progression towards greater monetary reward and a desire for greater responsibilities and perhaps recognition from the peers.

Vocation is very unlike the above, it is what some people refer to as a calling. Vocation does not negate monetary rewards or social recognition but those are not the primal driving forces and the fulfilment does not require external approval. Indeed, a vocation can change and evolve but the seed from which it grows, the curiosity to explore and dedicate time to a deeper understanding of a particular discipline, stays at the core of it.


A vocation can be a choice or sometimes it is a matter of chance. We can feel our calling clearly or it may stumble upon us by chance. Our feeling of vocation may simply grow upon us as a slow realisation that what we are doing is just the right thing.


The real choice is to either follow our calling or to go on the well trodden path that we think will bring us security and stability. Following our vocation is not always the easiest path, we may get in our own way through overthinking it, having preconceived ideas, or listening to our projected fears or grandiose ideas.


When we act in accordance with our life direction, we find that the flow may not always be smooth but the current is always helping us along. We are not a horticulturist, we constantly become one. It is a constant renewal, always fresh and invigorating. The childlike wonder is always there and is infectious to the people around us.

In finding and following our vocation we transcend the limitations, real or imaginary, imposed upon us. The internal freedom cannot be contained. Perhaps Confucius could have been translated as “Find your vocation and you will not have to work a single day of your life”