Thursday, October 11, 2012

A Change in Philosophy - or the Return of the Blogger

So - I've obviously been away from blogging for quite some time. Past the point where an "Oops!" is the appropriate return post. So I'm viewing this as effectively the start of a new blog with the same name. And, hopefully, a few of the same readers returning, which would be lovely.

Nothing particularly happened to cause the long blog hiatus, just my life as my life usually is - and therein lies the problem, and the titular change of philosophy. My sub-title "Life is too short to specialize." is seeming less and less appropriate, and more and more like a problem. My life is full of too much. A cousin of mine aptly called me a skills collector, but I think I've hit the point where amassing more "good enough" skills, or even more "pretty darned good" skills isn't going to do anything for me. I need to focus on making some skills "so good they can't ignore me" (Steve Martin), and that requires more focus.

  I've been reading through Cal Newport's blog (which I highly recommend btw), and discovering that much of what he writes about learning, careers and passion seems to apply to me in spades. The biggest and most stunning was the idea that following your passion is a trap for many people. If you're convinced that you need to find and follow your passion, it can lead to being a dilettante, always skipping from one thing to another, hoping that this one will be your one true passion. But what if you don't have One True Passion? I mean, I don't believe in the One True Soul Mate, but rather that there are many people out there that I could have satisfying, meaningful relationships with. Which means that a bump in the relationship road doesn't mean that I mistakenly married the wrong person, but rather that relationships have bumps sometimes. Even a loss of passion isn't a death knell, but rather a warning flare that the relationship needs attention.

What if careers work the same way? When I change focus from "what am I passionate about" (which is either everything or nothing depending on where you draw the lines), or "what am I good at" (which is too darned many things to be useful), to "what things do I do that I could see making a life out of doing?" things suddenly fell into much better focus. Mr. Newport advocates in one spot no more than three focuses, one or two work focuses, and one hobby. And when I looked at my life and said "What three things are that important to me?" I came back with three answers easily. Mom/wife, writer, karateka. So for at least the next year, and if results are promising, continuing on from there, I'll be concentrating on those three things. Of any commitment, the questions will be "Does it make me a better wife or mother?", "Does it make me a better writer?" and "Does it make me a better karateka?" if the answer is no to those three, then I'm not making a commitment to it. This doesn't mean I'm not doing anything else, but that I'm not working on actively improving those things. I'll still play piano. I'll still sing. I'll still knit and do fiberwork. But I won't be committing to doing those things, or making active attempts to become better at them. In effect I'll become a purposeful dilettante at everything else to give myself the time and energy to really improve on the other three.

Which brings me to the rededicating of this blog. In writing my biggest problem is that I simply don't write enough. I've been doing better lately about getting my butt into my chair every day, but while I write a lot for someone off the street, I don't write much for a would be professional writer, let alone for someone trying to actively improve her craft. That's writing of all kinds, and I'm not excluding blog updates. I enjoyed writing the blog, and it is writing practice if I use it as such, so blogging is back on the menu. Expect to see updates at least several times a week. And as one might suppose, I expect to be covering a somewhat narrower range of topics. Not all that narrow - I am still a polymath at heart - but put through the lens of my more narrowed focus.

 *Waves* Hi! I'm Cindy, your new writing/karate blogger! Wish me luck!

1 comment:

Perpetual Beginner said...
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