When I was in High School, I was envious of my friends who had clear passions. Be it horse ridding, being a U2 fan, playing the guitar, rhythmic gymnastics, watching Sea Change or something else. Me? I had no loves, though I had many likes. I guess I was what people would call a general all rounder. I was a curious person and a fast learner. So, I’m happy to give most things a go, and end up being above average for most things. But I would never excel or be spectacular at anything. And I would never stick at anything long enough, because something else would catch my attention.
And that’s what it’s been like for most of my life. In University I studied a double degree in Arts and Law. Fairly generic degrees. I did a brief stint in law, then moved onto a role within an Educational organisation. A role which I excelled at and ended up working there for many years longer than I thought I would because I was perfect for it. They needed someone (this is in the words of my supervisor) who could learn, with some common sense and who excelled at being a general worker. The position description was a bit fluid. And whilst there were some milestone tasks that always had to be completed annually, most of it was seeing what needed to be done and doing it. I loved the variety.
But there’s this ongoing desire in my heart that I want to pursue my passion. Something that I was made to do. The current thinking seems to be that to succeed in life, you should discover your Why (Simon Sinek albeit in the context of a brand), your Purpose (Lisa Messenger), your Fire (Danielle LaPorte). What about if you genuinely have none? I mean aside from really really really loving my family and friends, and some sort of (minor love?) of writing, museums and reading I don’t really think I have a passion – and that makes me a little sad.
…..and I guess the related question is, do I really have to have that one focus, that one passion in order to succeed?
I mean Leonardo Da Vinci had many pursuits and didn’t even finish a lot of his paintings and he seemed to have done alright (I get that this is such an over-simplification of his life, but for argument’s sake I’m putting it out there). Years ago, I attended the Melbourne Writer’s Festival and I heard Lucy Knisley speak. And she said something along the lines of this: growing up she loved writing. And she loved drawing. Then one day she realised she didn’t have to pick between the two if she became a Comic Artist because she could do both. I love what she said and it’s always stuck with me. It’s that breaking free from the binary thinking.
There’s really no revelation to this post. It’s just me wondering whether I need to change my habits. Focus and complete one thing before moving onto another. Or is it okay to meander along, doing a little bit of everything? I get the time and the output arguments, that if you divide your attention, you’re only going to do everything half well. Or is there some undiscovered way, where you can pursue diversified interests and still succeed?
I mean this photo is a good encapsulation of me – one of the three piles of books that I’m currently reading. I’ve read about 1/3rd of each of these books 😉 and keep switching between all of them. Maybe it’s an issue with inattention, perhaps?