No. 7: Why Some of Us Don’t Have One True Calling, Creating a Portfolio Life and Treating Life as an Experiment

Hello and welcome to this week’s Curious Catalog, a weekly collection of three useful gems for life, work and everything in between.

Photo courtesy of Mikito Tateisi.

Why Some of Us Don’t Have One True Calling

Video (12 Minutes)

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” – that cute innocuous question grownups once asked you eventually becomes the very thing that keeps you up at night. We live in a culture that romanticizes the narrowly-focused life; the idea that we each have one great thing we are destined to do during our lifetime: the one true calling. While there will always be those prodigies that knew – since the age of 5 – what they wanted to do for the rest of their life, there will be the rest of us – trying out different things, stumbling through, picking up some knowledge, developing skills here and there – before our purpose even comes to light. And even then, our purpose may continually evolve. If you’re not sure you want to do – just one thing – for the rest of your life, you’re not alone. You might just be one of us – a multipotentialite.

Create a Portfolio Life

Podcast (16 Minutes)

Most of us are not wired to do just one thing. We’re multifaceted creatures with multiple interests. Why should our work not reflect such diversity? What if, instead of identifying with a job description, we see the whole mass of things we do as what we “do” for a living? What if, instead of thinking of work as a singular activity, we see it as a complex group of interests, passions and activities? What if we master several skills, combine them in interesting ways and find the intersections where our talents and passions align with the needs of the world? Your life is a portfolio of activities – some you do for money, some for loved ones, some for your own pleasure, some for a cause – all of which make you who you are: a whole greater than its parts.

Treat Life as an Experiment

Video (5 Minutes)

Much of life is trial and error. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t. Just like an experiment, we start out with a guess, put it to the test, stand back, observe, make adjustments, observe again, arrive at some conclusion and create new guesses to test again. When we treat life as an experiment, we become more willing to take risks, to acknowledge failure, to learn and develop; after all, that’s what experiments are all about: discovery and growth. Not sure if something is right for you? Try it out – for an hour, a day, a month – and see if it resonates with you. It is rarely a waste of time to pursue something you’re drawn to, even if you end up quitting; you might apply that knowledge in a entirely different field, in a way that you couldn’t have anticipated. The only way to truly know is to try. Be your own scientist, your own guinea pig and start a life experiment.

A quote I’m thinking about…

Learn things once. Use them forever.
Tim Ferriss

Which gem resonated with you this week?



No. 6: Your Life is Not a Journey, The Day I Became a Millionaire & The Art of Stillness

Hello and welcome to this week’s Curious Catalog, a weekly collection of three useful gems for life, work and everything in between. Follow along by subscribing to this blog.

Photo courtesy of Drew Graham.

Your Life Is Not A Journey

Video (4 Minutes)

Most of us see our lives as a series of events, happening one after another. We think in terms of “what got us here” and “what will get us there”. We are often trying to get somewhere; to arrive at something, a destination, a point in life when. Alan Watts invites us to observe the playful nature of the universe and see, from the lens of music, that life is not a journey, a pilgrimage or a mission. Life is more like a song or a dance; its purpose is not to get to its end, but the music itself. Can you hear the music playing in your life? Are you singing? Are you dancing?

The Day I Became A Millionaire

Article (7 Minutes)

Remember the time when you were dreaming about that must-have gadget, that coveted promotion at work or that new person to fall in love with? Remember fantasizing about how happy you would be when your dreams finally come true? You’d be on top of the world! But for how long? That boost in happiness somehow eluded you and just right before the sparks completely fade, you’re back on the treadmill – dreaming of the next promise of lasting happiness. If you’re one of the millions of people who have the basics taken cared of, but who still yearn for the treasure perceived to be behind the curtain, read this millionaire’s story and take stock. You might already be experiencing the best things in life. So, don’t let them pass you by. Make them count.

The Art of Stillness


We live in a madly accelerating world, in an age of perpetual motion – making it increasingly difficult, yet increasingly imperative to honor stillness. It is only by taking oneself away from noise, clutter and distraction – by going Nowhere – that one can begin to make sense of everywhere else. Going Nowhere is choosing to sit still long enough to turn inward, strip you off yourself and connect with something larger, deeper and infinite. Going nowhere isn’t about turning your back on the world; it’s about stepping away every now and then so that you can see the world more clearly and love it more deeply. The next time you’re thinking of ideas where to go on your next vacation, why don’t you try Nowhere?

A quote I’m thinking about…

We dream of the perfect wave, the perfect job, the perfect house. When we get there, we dream of something else.
Rob Machado

Which gem resonated with you this week?



True North

True North.jpg
Angat, Bulacan, April 2012.

Who looks outside, dreams.
Who looks inside, awakens.
Carl Jung


Is it night? Is it day?
No one can be certain.
In every direction you turn,
A thick fog of gloom pervades the landscape.
You have been on this journey long enough,
To have learned the ways of this desolate place.
You have befriended the surrounding darkness,
And, in return, it has sharpened your senses.

Continue reading “True North”

Embracing Limits

Danka and Peter
Photo courtesy of Danka & Peter.

When I was packing for my first four-week trip around mountainous regions, I gathered all my stuff, placed them on the bed and crammed them in my 40 liter backpack. Unfortunately, half of them was still on the bed.

I tried pushing them down from the top, inserting some of them on the sides and attaching them on the outside. With the remaining quarter left on the bed, I wondered. Should I get a bigger backpack? Should I bring two backpacks instead? Or should I just stick with this one?

Continue reading “Embracing Limits”