How do you know what your calling in life is? Some people know very early in life. Mozart wrote his first symphony at the age of eight; Paul McCartney wrote his first song when he was fourteen. So some have it figured out quite early. Not all of us do. Or sometimes we know and ignore it or don't move to action to develop our talent(s). Regardless, if you are looking to discover your core genius, your talent, how do you go about it? We'll get more into this in a moment. Let's take a look at how you feel at this time to determine where you are mentally.

Do you lack energy, enthusiasm, desire? Do you have difficulty sleeping? Getting up for work? Lack desire to be with family, spouse, friends? Now some of these symptoms may be related to disease. And there is a belief that depression can result in physical disease, but this is not my area of expertise. But if you are relatively healthy, you've gone to regular doctor visits and you check out OK, but you still have symptoms of depression, lack of energy and enthusiasm, it is more than likely that your problems are motivational. Tony Robbins says that there are no lazy people, they simply have impotent goals. Put more simply, they are not doing what excites them. If boredom reigns in you life, get busy. But maybe you've been suppressing your desires for so long it is going to take some work to pull out the answer.

What is the best technique to use? Simple and short. Writing. You need a journal. If you are not used to self-examination, then you need to get a journal and practice opening up to the intuitive / creative voice within you. It is the subconscious voice or the subconscious you that has your answers. Major point here is that you are going to find out for yourself what it is that you want to do.

Here's a case in point. I had a student come to me one day complaining that no matter how hard she tried to be objective in her writing she always found herself putting in her ten cents, so to speak. She just couldn't keep herself from putting her subjective stories in to support what she was saying. The assignment called for a more objective approach but no matter what she just couldn't maintain her objectivity.

I asked her if she kept a journal. She said no. I said, well, for your mental health, I suggest that you do. There is obviously something that you have to work out. If you have a continual desire to express yourself, you either have a problem to work out or you're a writer incognito.

She confessed that she used to write all the time and loves to write but found it impractical. I told her that she better get writing. It is your core genius. If you are that motivated to write, that obsessed with writing, you are a writer. Exactly what you are going to do with it, I don't know. But I do know that you have to write and as you do so on a consistent basis, you will discover what it is that you need to do with your writing.

I had a similar experience. After working in the computer field for several years, and then the entertainment field, I knew that I was at an impasse. But after a fashion, I knew through brainstorming or free-writing what my plan was: I would get my BA and MA in English, teach for six years or so, learn, gain extensive experience speaking, and then move into a private entity as an info-preneur. And as I sit and write this article, something that I had gotten away from for some time (writing that is), I find my energy increasing, my focus and sharpness of mind excelling. Mental sharpness is a key feature of those who are following their path. Interesting that I read today on the AP wire that elderly people who see themselves as self-disciplined, organized achievers have a lower risk for developing Alzheimer's disease than people who are less conscientious. Why? Universal law. You were put here to do certain things. You were also put here to get off the sofa and do things, period-and, may I add, mostly for other people. There are rewards just for doing something, even those things that don't promote your core genius, so imagine the physical, emotional, intellectual, psychological, spiritual benefits of doing that which you came here to do. And everybody, everybody, has their talent.

You know mine. My wife's is interior decorating. She'll see something in the store and instantly knows where it will fit into the house. She spotted a painting one time and when we got it home I put it on the wall and it amazed me how the colors in the painting matched with the surroundings. My older son is a mechanical genius. My daughter is a bookworm like her father. Our youngest Michael, who barely speaks, is going to be a politician or a lawyer. During activities at our church everyone young and old is asking, where's Michael? Where's Michael? One day we went to Universal Studios and my wife and I were waiting for the kids to get soaked on the Jurassic Park ride as Michael introduced himself to the people around him, just going up to tables sitting down next to whoever and socializing. He can't talk yet, but that didn't stop him from holding a young ladies hand for ten minutes. Quite the flirt.

But getting back to the issue at hand, you do have a talent. And some people complain that they've looked and they've looked and they've looked but to no avail. Well, I say, you are probably looking past, over, below or around it. It is there, you just need to think more simply. What do you like to do? How do you find this out? Let's look into it.


One of the best ways to discover or uncover is to journal. Unfortunately, most people have gotten away form writing. Years ago, before the glut on the market of entertainment related devices (Xbox, Game Cube, Internet, iPod, PCs, MP3 players, cell phones, email), people actually sat down and wrote each other. In junior high, I remember writing to a friend who had moved to the next state. I also wrote funny stories to entertain my friends. I wrote ideas and notes down of things I needed to do, wanted to remember, and was looking forward to. But writing is a lost art. I have seen major evidence of this over the seven-plus years I taught at the college / university level. But let's get to what journaling can do for you.

One of the major features of journaling is its ability to pull from you information, wisdom, thoughts you never knew you had or had forgotten that are recalled just at the right time to help solve an issue.

I have yet to pin down why writing is so important to self-understanding or why it is the best way to problem solve or discover insight. It may have to do with our limitations more than anything else. Since we are such forgetful beings and have a difficult time retaining, processing, and recalling information, the best thing for us is to simply write it down. Write it down so we don't forget what we've just discovered, and write it down so that we can go back and look at where our problems lie, enabling us to compare and contrast to fix ongoing issues.

But one of the greatest attributes of writing is that it enables us to create a direct path to that intuitive voice, the subconscious mind, the sixth sense, the divine, if you will. Here is where we find oftentimes priceless gems of knowledge and understanding that would probably stay hidden if we didn't write.

It stays hidden because people are looking at life with myopic eyeglasses. They aren't seeing the forest for the trees. The major reason being that they don't study enough of what is going on around them. In order to truly see what's going on, you have to read, study, think, contemplate, write or journal, just generally keep the mind active and nimble. Like your belly, it gets soft with inactivity. One of the best things you can do is write on a daily basis. Writing enables one to call forth hidden wisdom, forgotten facts that create insights that are powerful and priceless. Let me give you a few examples of what this journaling can do for you.

I know of a man who was having a normal life working as a computer programmer, going to work, raising a family, enjoying his work and leisure time. However, one day his life was turned upside down, as often happens to us humans (It happens so often that it should not be a surprise to us-maybe add this to our early education as well). He contracted MS. He did the usual in attempting to work with the mental / emotional aspect of the disease. He spoke to doctors. He spoke to family and friends. This helped to a degree but he needed more help than they could provide. So where did he go? To paper and pen. He realized that only by examining his thoughts on his own could he reach needed understanding. As he wrote, he began to have insights and understandings that were specific to his plight. Understandings others and even he could not have come up with.

"What?" You ask. "Not even him? But isn't he writing here?"

Yes, but as I've stated before, it is the subconscious, intuitive / creative voice that taps into submerged solutions, understandings, forgotten facts and connections that only come forth when we allow ourselves to think freely and intuitively. Subsequent chapters will help you free yourself up, let go of counterproductive thoughts and habits locking up great personal discovery. Not sure if you've ever heard the old sixties saying, "Free you mind and your ass will follow." Well, hopefully we'll get a lot more than rear end feed up. Let's get back to the example.

This man began to discover ways of dealing with his disease that no one else was coming up with, solutions that worked specifically for him-his unique situation. He began recording how he was feeling at his worst times. For instance, at one point, he began writing down how often he was waking up at night, and what he was feeling, and passed that information on to his doctor who was able to tailor preventative solutions based on this information. The man even went back to writing poetry, something that he hadn't done in years, to discover insight and calm that he said would have never happened if he hadn't gotten sick-the sickness forcing him to write again.

I know from personal experience that it has been the times I've spent alone, feeling down and desperate, sad and destitute, that have not only motivated me to seek out a better life but has helped me to see the significance of this better life and to appreciate it for all the joy and reward it brings. The result? Greater insight, understanding, compassion for others who suffer the same plight, and strength, coming from overcoming such difficulties and tragedies.

People often complain about their difficulties, curse God for their bad luck, but they never look to the light at the underbelly of tragedy and failure. Without these downtimes, how do we ever know success? There is no one who has ever succeeded who hasn't known failure. And that is good, for how can you succeed without it? If failure did not exist, and you only knew success, how would you know your were successful? If you were always healthy and never got sick, how could you know health?

This is old news, philosophy that has been around for ages. The Taoist speaks of it in the ying / yang: hot / cold, light / darkness, health / sickness, pleasure / pain. If we didn't have these pairs then we would not know the good or the bad. It is the way this world is set up. For our benefit.

By keeping our minds open, we are able to see things we would not normally be able to see. Important things.

Here's another example. A woman was concerned about a defect in her child's head. She had gone to a couple of experts who said that everything was fine, that the child would grow out of it. Nevertheless, she continued to worry and seek out experts. She just knew something was wrong.

Point of note: good example here of not listening to others or blindly following the crowd. How many less informed mothers or mothers with weaker intuition would have accepted these expert's opinions?

She decided that in order to work out this problem she would journal. She, like the man with MS, had gone to experts, family and friends for advice but she knew that she hadn't found what she was looking for. So she began to write.

In writing, she discovered an un-opinionated, neutral partner in her pen and paper. But she was not alone. She knew that there was another presence working with her. She could feel it as she came to greater understanding of what she should do. Seek out additional experts. She did.

Some time later she came upon a doctor who was working on a new disease of the bone, specifically related to children. She brought her child in. After the doctor examined the child, he suggested that they not delay and operate as soon as possible.

After the operation both the doctor and mother were satisfied with the result, the doctor telling the mother that if she had delayed the child might not have survived. The mother was also satisfied with the information and insight that she received from her journal, not only because she had saved her child but she had come to a great understanding through writing how to best deal with a highly charged emotional situation-a situation no one else was able to remedy to the mother's satisfaction.

Journaling, writing, keeping a diary, any form of jotting down one's ideas in a quiet place on a regular basis is fundamental to tapping into and maximizing one's ability to be successful in most if not all areas of life.

Jeff Brown has been writing for over thirty years. He is an astute observer of the human condition and has overcome many personal development challengs by applying the principles he speaks of to his own life. His current novel Black Body Radiation and the Ultraviolet Catastrophe can be found at His newest book, Give and Grow Yourself Rich will be out in early 2008.

Author's Bio: 

Jeff has written 100's of essays and articles; over 50 poems; and several books: Now available are his motivational works Black Body Radiation and the Ultraviolet Catastrophe at and To Die at the Age of Man at; Coming soon: Give and Grow Yourself Rich (May, 2008); Education is a Waste of Time, (late 2008); and a children's novella The Search for Adriana (late 2008). Currently, he teaches writing and owns Inner Projection, a self-improvement business.