Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Have you been called?

by Theodore Kinni
strategy+business, November 11, 2015
When I was a kid, I really wanted to win the recently established millionaire drawing in the New Jersey lottery. (I remember thinking that I would never need to work after pulling down the princely annual sum of $50,000 for 20 years.) Other than that, I’ve never had what I would call a calling. And it turns out I’m in good company: 60 to 70 percent of people don’t feel like they have a calling, either, according to studies cited by Martin Seligman in his introduction to Being Called: Scientific, Secular, and Sacred Perspectives (Praeger, 2015).
The genesis of Being Called was a meeting at Canterbury Cathedral in 2013, initiated by Seligman and his research team. Seligman, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, is a pioneer in the field of positive psychology, the study of strengths that enable people to thrive. The purpose of the gathering was to bring together an unusually diverse and distinguished group of secular and religious figures — social scientists, like Seligman; religious leaders, including Jonathan Sacks, then chief rabbi of the U.K.; and political and business leaders, such as Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd — to explore the idea of “being called into the future.” The event inspired this academic collection of essays that attempt to define the nebulous subject of callings, and to establish some boundary lines (as loose and permeable as they may be) around it.

All three of the book’s editors — David Bryce YadenTheo D. McCall, and J. Harold Ellens — attended the Canterbury conclave. They also describe experiencing callings in their essays. Yaden, a psychologist who serves as the lead editor, awoke in his college dorm to a feeling of warmth in his chest that spread throughout his body and became an “experience of boundless unity” — an overwhelming sense of oneness with the world. As he thought about that experience in the weeks that followed, an inner voice directed him to become a “scriptor” — a Latin word meaning author or scribe, which he had to look up. McCall says that his vocation as an Anglican priest seemed obvious to people around him and inevitable as early as his mid-teens. Ellens reports a half-dozen numinous experiences that contributed to a “sense of destiny” and led him to the ministry.

But the essays in this accessible collection don’t just focus on the pulpit. Finding your calling — and following its dictates in order to live an authentic life — has become a popular work-life topic in recent years the rest here

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