Stop looking for true calling

Today TED shares a blog-post about True Calling. U know what? I know a better term for it.

Instead of true calling model of TED, this model involves four factors interacting with each other before (hopefully) coverging into the core, which is named Ikigai, a Japanese concept meaning “a reason for being”.

There are something that annoys me in the TED true calling model.

You seem not to have to care about money in “true calling”

This model avoids money as if money is a bad thing. If somebody asks you what your dream is and your reply is “making a lot of money”, the reaction is predictable. Yep, what an immature, greedy, selfish person you are. Ignoring money as a sufficient method of value quantification is so unrealistic.


The fact is when you make money you are creating value (somebody needs what you do and is willing to pay for it, whatever that is. Youtubers who create trivial but fun videos make tons of money). The value may be good or bad, irrelavant from moral standards. From this diagram a teacher or a professional killer both have Ikigai. The market ruled by supply and demand doesn’t care if you are good or bad. You survive when do create something people need, or when you are part of that chain.

A person with Ikigai is not necessarily a good one, whereas the model of TED true calling requires people to “behave out of integrity”.

You are supposed to make people’s lives better ???

This is important because when you use the word “true-calling”, it sounds like people are supposed to be super-heroes. To be extraodinary or nothing. To end poverty, save the world, become entrpreneurs, leave a dent in the universe. Why should people do that? Stop turning this into a pressure.

And who created so-called Ikigai or “true calling” diagram anyway? There is no such fixed thing.

And what if I can’t find my Ikigai? Should I kill myself for living a worthless life?

“Don’t be a hero”

pomodoro 1
Pomodoro Technique Illustrated, page 52
Reword- Jason Fried, page 12

Above are extratcs of two books about work and producvity. One is intuitive advice from an experienced entrepreneur, another is a chapter elaborating Pomodoro single-tasking mindset. They met for a moment in an echo chamber.

“Workaholics aren’t heroes. They don’t save the days. They just use it up. the real hero is alredy home because she figured out a faster way to get things done”



And yes, Bob Marley  did not say such a thing 🙂


Aren’t you lonely?

Turning up early in the office, Nam asked me:

You didnot go anywhere in the holiday, did you?


Don’t you feel lonely?

No. Why should I?

The short conversation continued with us laughing about his new picture: a small boat dock in the middle of nowhere, heading nowhere. Something we should not laugh about, yet we did.

Loneliness is an unavoidable state of mind. No matter how upbeat we try to be, there are still some parts of our inner worlds we can’t share and even if we do, can’t be understood by others. All those thoughts and feelings formed from various experiences and contexts, are unique to each one of us. We can try to express messages and our partners can try to perceive, and still, those words just overlap. It’s like doing “hi-five”: out hands touch for a brief moment and detach. Accepting that our inner world is private is a free feeling.


What’s more scary is not lack of people around. How many times do we feel lonely in a crowd? It’s not about space either. Like a whale with a different sound frequency, loneliness happens when we can’t communicate and therefore, unable to form connection.

Before asking others to understand and lessen the ultimate loneliness inside us, try to explore our inner world and communicate with ourselves. Loneliness gets to the stark point when we can’t hamornize and console that voice deep inside us.

Listen. What does the voice tell you?