If you’ve been following along at home, I’ve covered a little bit of ground with this blog. I’ve discussed how to name the things that need to change in your life, the importance of feelings, and how to uncover your magic. And so what? Once you know what activities give you energy and what strengths you bring to the table, how do you know where to apply them? It’s a big world with infinite options. And you can’t just match your favorite activities and best talents to a job description and expect to slide into the perfect career (for you).
For example: I love to communicate and share knowledge. After a briefing or speaking event, you have to peel me off the ceiling, I’m so high. And I am skilled at finding patterns and creating structure. You might think, based on that, I would thrive as an elementary school teacher. Lesson plans. Sharing knowledge. Marching through the curriculum. Perfect, right?
The truth is, I would be hopeless. Elementary education is closer to my version of hell than my calling. I have all the respect in the world for passionate teachers. I literally don’t know how they do it. But on paper, I would be a perfect fit.
There is still one missing piece. Robert Greene calls it your Inclination. Elizabeth Gilbert and Danielle LaPorte call it your Curiosity. It is a deep interest in a subject or activity that is a part of you from birth. And it is the key to uncovering what you should do. Where you should focus your energy and talents. What you should study and how you should grow.
The cool thing about your Inclination is that it has been with you since birth. It is a part of you, just waiting to be discovered. The terrible thing about your inclination is that it has been with you since birth. It is a part of you, so much so that you might not even realize it’s there. And just like your magic, you might have spent a lifetime covering it up to fit in.
I’ve been thinking a lot about my inclination ever since I stared this research. Wondering: what would I call it if I named my curiosity? I’m a problem-solver and curious about how things work. I studied physics because it was the hardest thing I could think of. And the most fundamental. Then I went into Government because that seemed harder still. Something big to figure out. And then one day I was walking with a colleague who studied psychology and said almost unconsciously, If I had been brave I would have majored in psychology. I surprised her. And I surprised myself.
I have always loved people. I’m deeply curious about how their minds work. And as long as I can remember I have wanted the best for my friends and done everything I could to help them discover the best in themselves. To achieve all they wanted to achieve. And yet. I also was good at math. And I destroyed the AP Physics test. And I bought in to the idea that scientists are technical and anti-social and in my pursuit of the hard problem, I forgot about my love for the hardest problem: human behavior.
It’s been eight years since I finished my master’s degree in physics and I am just now rediscovering my true curiosity. It was buried deep. And it took a lot of introspection and a hard look at my Kindle wish list and reflection on the magazines and articles I love to read. And it took me listening to my friends and coworkers when they mentioned offhand that they thought I would love to do suchandsuch. Especially when it seemed out of character for me. My Inclination was shining through even though I was too blind by my self-image to see.
And now that I’ve embraced it. And I follow it. I find myself so much more engaged and inspired. Curious and creative. It’s empowering to have a name for something so fundamentally me. To have a strong sense of what I should do with my life, or at least the next phase of my life. To see a new path unfolding ahead of me.
What about you? What is your Inclination? Has it helped you decide what to do with your life? Please tell me! Humor my deep curiosity.
We're all trying to do great things, including me. Sign up here to receive a weekly Rise and Shine! email with exclusive content about my own journey; Monday morning musings designed to motivate and inspire.
The Desire Map: A Guide to Creating Goals With Soul (affiliate link) by Danielle Laporte
The Fire Starter Sessions: A Soulful + Practical Guide to Creating Success on Your Own Terms (affiliate link) by Danielle LaPorte
Getting There: A Book of Mentors by Gillian Zoe Segal
Mastery by Robert Greene
StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath
Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard by Chip and Dan Heath
The Truth about Leadership by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner