Many years ago I read a paragraph from The War of Art by Steven Pressfield that touched me deeply. It talked about 'The unlived life', the life you could live, but you might never live. It said:
Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance. Have you ever brought home a treadmill and let it gather dust in the attic? Ever quit a diet, a course of yoga, a meditation practice? Have you ever bailed out on a call to embark upon a spiritual practice, dedicate yourself to a humanitarian calling, commit your life to the service of others? Have you ever wanted to be a mother, a doctor, an advocate for the weak and helpless; to run for office, crusade for the planet, campaign for world peace, or to preserve the environment? Late at night have you experienced a vision of the person you might become, the work you could accomplish, the realized being you were meant to be? Are you a writer who doesn't write, a painter who doesn't paint, an entrepreneur who never starts a venture? Then you know what Resistance is.
At the time I read the book, I had just finished University and started working. I didn’t think I had any particular ambitions or vocation, but I did feel I had potential. That I was meant to do something with my life, and if I pursued a creative endeavor something good might emerge from it.
I felt the excitement of the person I could become, the things I could do, and the life I could live if I pursued my calling. I enjoyed playing with my imagination.
However, taking a creative path was not an easy choice at all. I didn't consider myself to be a creative person, nor did I think I had something to say. More practically, I had no incentive to get started on a creative path. I was done studying and I already had a job.
On top of that, I was also scared. On the other side of excitement, there was fear. What if I don’t really have potential? What if I’m not that good? What if I fail?
Expressing your potential is a risky and uncertain endeavour, and you will inevitably feel resistance to it. If you're like most people, you might start to rationalize it: "Maybe this intuition means nothing. Maybe my life is not that bad. Maybe I'm just deluding myself."
I certainly wrestled with those thoughts myself, but after a while I came to the conclusion that I had to pursue my creative calling. Why? There is something worse than trying and failing at something: it's the regret of not becoming who you were meant to be.
In spite of the resistance, I forced myself to create. More specifically, I challenged myself to create content (whether written or video) every single week of 2017. And I did.
That's when the life I was meant to live started to unfold.
I am not a bestselling author or a movie director (yet?), but I can say that pursuing my calling changed the course of my life.
In fact, because I was creating online content, I got a remote job as a content creator. And because I worked remotely, I could live anywhere. So I moved to Bali first and Lisbon later, where I met many creative people whose careers were centered around creativity. That inspired me to keep going, get better at my craft and express my potential even further.
Who knows, maybe one day I will create something that will resonate with a lot of people. Or maybe my creative potential will only touch a few people. To be honest, it doesn’t really matter.
Since I started pursuing my calling a lot of great things have come into my life. Although my path is still full of risks and uncertainty, I feel like I'm aligned with what I'm supposed to do. I'm living the life I'm supposed to live. And that's a priceless feeling to have.
So, my question for you is: do you have a call within you know you should answer? And if yes, what are you waiting for? As Kurt Vonnegut says: “Of all the words of mice and men, the saddest are, "It might have been.”
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