Learning Who You Are and Who You Are Not

Columbus Circle

Columbus Circle

There are no shortcuts to any place worth going

~Beverly Sills~

For several days I wondered what to write about this week. As I was wondering I listened to Mary Rammerman’s talk at Spiritus Christi Church about spiritual aspects of this topic. I began to think I might have some reflections as well.

Can we really do whatever we want with our lives? I remember an old boarding school saying, “You can order anything you want for dinner, but it’s best to see what is being served first.” What determines the life menu from which we choose?

First is the array of talents with which we are born. Mozart could compose symphonies in early childhood. Many good athletes were agile from the time they could walk. Some people have dynamic personalities. Each of us has skills which give us a unique set of possibilities. Finding and developing them gives us a direction for our lives.

But skills alone are not enough. To make the best of our skills, we must have a passion for what we can do well. Pursuing out talents and honing them carefully give is the best chance to excel. If we are not any good at something, we can try until we are blue in the face and still end up mediocre at best. If we are born with innate talents and don’t work to develop them, we won’t get anywhere either.

While talent is mostly inherited, passion isn’t. Where does it come from? Sometimes we find it in the dedication of our family members. Sometimes teachers, mentors or friends help us make it part of our lives. Sometimes we discover, almost by accident, what brings us to life and gives our lives their purpose. We blossom when our talent and passion merge and we discover what we have to share with each other and with the world. Now is our chance and our time to shine. Each of us has a unique contribution to make.

Some people become world renowned for their skills and dedication. We respect and thank them and God for enriching our lives. Others may never find their names in print or on television. Good listeners brighten the lives of the distraught. A cheery smile or a compliment snaps others out of their doldrums. Unseen and unknown Samaritans help others without seeking thanks or recognition.

Maybe you already know your talents and have found your passion for using them. Maybe you have not yet discovered your talents or started living passionately. If you are gliding through life in neutral, maybe it is time to see what you have to offer. Finding your purpose will give your life a deeper meaning. As George Bernard Shaw said, “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating you.”

Life Lab Lessons

  •         What are your talents?
  •         What enlivens your life with passion?
  •         How do the two fit together?
  •         Where can you make a contribution to others and to the world?
  •         See what you can do just for today.

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