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Finding Your Unique Life Purpose

One of my favorite movies is Unbreakable, a film by M. Night Shyamalan. What I love most about this film is its suggestion that if you are not doing what you are meant to be doing with your life, you will wake up each morning with a little sadness in your heart.

I realize that every person's life is made up of countless conscious and subconscious experiences, and that it can be self-limiting and even depressing to think that there's just one thing that each of us are meant to do really well.

Still, I think it's natural to marvel at someone doing something with such sensational skill and passion that it is natural to think that he or she has discovered a unique life purpose.

Case in point, if you have a few minutes, please watch the following video of Jeong-Hyun Lim, a 23-year old Korean and self-taught guitarist:

This video originally appeared on about two years ago, and to date, it has generated over 65 million views. I think it's safe to assume that all of us can recognize this young man's greatness with a guitar.

When I watch this video or view a highlight reel of Michael Jordan or read "The Catcher in the Rye," it's natural to feel that Jeong-Hyun Lim, Michael Jordan, and J.D. Salinger found their unique life purposes, even if their extraordinary public works are tiny snippets of their lives.

But maybe, just maybe, the special skills that we recognize in these and other public figures do not represent what they feel are their greatest contributions or experiences.

After watching Unbreakable, I spent a few years trying to figure out what my "one thing" was. What was I put on earth for? What was my one special talent?

I think that most people think about this issue at some point in their lives. And if a clear answer doesn't appear, it's possible to become discouraged, especially when we see so many celebrities who appear to have found their own special talents.

I believe that a lot of people in our world are chronically depressed because they feel that they haven't found their unique callings. Maybe this is the result of the way that today's mainstream media continuously teaches us that we are not beautiful or financially wealthy enough. Maybe it's just a normal part of the human experience in any age.

Is it possible that being steadfastly kind, even when others are not, can be a person's special calling in life? How about being known among family and friends as someone who would never divulge another person's secret? What about the ability to consistently overpower our pride and acknowledge when we are wrong or when we behave badly? And how about trying hard to prevent others from feeling bad about big or tiny things? Do any of these character traits qualify as forms of true greatness?

When we hear about finding a unique life purpose, it is usually in the context of discovering a vocation or physical skill that typically attracts widespread respect and admiration. How good would it be if our society began to recognize certain character traits as being displays of true greatness?

Examples of people displaying admirable character traits:

A worker at a store who personally escorts you to the item you are looking for instead of pointing and verbally describing how you can struggle to find it yourself.

A gardener who sees a worm on his walking path and takes the time to gently move it to safety.

A parent who never stops working hard to prepare healthy meals for his or her family.

A friend who consistently listens with her heart and has the best interests of her friends in mind.

A parent who never disciplines in anger.

Wouldn't it be great if most of the world's people found it natural to think that such people have discovered their life callings?

To consistently display any of the character traits described above requires a similar level of commitment, effort, and practice that elite athletes, musicians, and other artists put into being great at what they do. If only the world would regularly teach us that we don't have to become Olympians, Hollywood celebrities, published authors, millionaires, or anything else to find our unique life purposes and to feel fulfilled.


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Dear Dr Kim,

Thank you so much for sharing this video of the little Korean guitarist. It was so inspiring and emotional to watch and listen to him play whilst sitting in his bedroom. It had me reduced to tears in the first few seconds. A true genius who no doubt has given heart and encouragement to so many people, both young and old. FANTASTIC!

Best wishes to you and your family, from Donna. x

It is truly beautiful to watch a gift from God Above in action here on earth for us all to enjoy and revere. Thank you, Dr. Kim, for bringing me and others this video. All I can feel at this moment is awe.

Beautifully said, Dr. Kim.

Awe inspiring!! What a talented young man, he could keep an audience spellbound for hours just hearing him play his wonderful music!


Thank You Dr. Kim for including this amazing video of the extremely talented young guitarist. It was such a joy to view.

I also very much enjoyed reading your comments on that we can not all attain or strive to such greatness in life.

I would like to comment on that: We can not all be great in doing big things in life, but we can be big in doing small things great.
I especially like the way you mention about kindness or being thoughtful as being wonderful traits that you can be very proud of.

This article is moving and inspiring.
What you wrote about such seemingly small feats like being kind to others in the face of rudeness does take a lot of practice. I can think of several people who have this strength of character, and these happen to be the role models in my life.
Strength of character is a very noble thing for everyone to aspire to, regardless of how great their vocations or talents are.
Thank you for these wonderful words.

Dr. Kim thank you for sharing this incredible young men with us. Anybody can truly see that when it comes to playing guitar he is an incredible talent.

What has touched me even more is the fact that he has originally submitted this video anonymously and until recently nobody knew who the player really is. There was a little segment on 20/20 about him. When the reporter form 20/20 finally uncovered who is behind this fantastc display of talent and visited this young man he found out he wasn't interested in endorsments, his own tv show or travelling with any IT band or performing. He just simply wanted to play and perfect his art.

I think that in this time and age this type of humility is almost unheard of.
thanks again for sharing.

What an incredible talent. Listening to him gave me goosebumps - it was awesome and the fact he wasn't doing it for the publicity but to share his music was inspiring and admirable. We need more people in the world like him. Dr. Kim, I really enjoy your newsletters and find the topics very interesting and informative. Keep up the good work!

This young man reminds me of the late great Duane Allman, co-founder of the Allman Brothers Band.

The Korean guitarist, what an awesome talent! It made me smile while I was crying, it just took my breath away. As a musician myself who does not use an instrument, but my voice, I was blown away by the discipline it must have taken to teach himself and be that incredible! I am new to your site and have enjoyed every article and piece of advice you have given. Thank you for your desire to be a servant to us by sharing your insites and gifts with us. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

This article about the importance of the values that we incorporate into our lives brought tears to my eyes! Yes, yes, yes, say my heart and soul!!

Thank you for your thoughts - simple and inspiring.

("Unbreakable" is also in my all-time top ten, just above "Signs")

What propitious timing for me. I spent the day preparing a study on the fact that God has gifted every single one of us. Those who discover their gifts and develop them are truly the happiest people on earth. This young man is a prime example of what can be developed when we really use our gift.

Dr. Kim thank you for all of the wisdom that you share week after week with us. You are obviously another of those who has discovered your gifts and are using them to serve mankind. Bravo to both of you.