Tuesday 17 January 2023

A Year To Do Fewer Things

2023 is going to be the year that I don't do many things. Wait what? Pretty underwhelming for a New Year's resolution isn't it? Well, that is the point. I've noticed that one of my personality traits is I have a very weak focus concerning the things I am pursuing over a period of time. For example, I would be inspired to learn guitar but as soon as things get difficult my mind starts looking for other low-hanging fruits from which I can get a quicker sense of accomplishment (looks at the unused Harmonica lying on my side table). This has enabled me to take an interest in different things but has also kept me from being able to get good at any one of them. The beginner's high is exciting which exists in the initial period of a new venture but what I long to experience is the pure joy that comes after going at a certain thing for a long enough time that I am not only able to tolerate the lows in the learning but also enjoy it. Passion; derived from the Latin word patior, means 'to suffer'. When you are truly passionate, you are pushed along by your desire to the point where you are willing to endure pain, suffering and loss for the object which is the focus of your attention. Well looking back I don't recall having such a strong desire for anything and I think one of the reasons must be that I have never followed my curious new ventures to the depths of their metaphorical oceans deep enough, depths lower than even the sun would see, that the only thing keeping me going is my determination to touch the seabed. This is the year that I am planning to change that.

The very first book that I finished this year is by Seth Godin called The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick). Came across this very interesting title when browsing through the productivity subreddit and immediately found it added to my Goodreads list. In this book, the author is trying to talk to the readers about the seemingly long and difficult to navigate through a period of difficulty in pursuit of your goals which he calls The Dip. Seth describes the dip as the part of anything you are pursuing in life where the rewards you get versus the effort you are putting in is low and keeps decreasing before it starts to increase at a rapid pace. The author also argues that any and everything worth pursuing in this life will have a stage of the dip in it. Knowing this he suggests one should always ask themselves one very important question before starting something new in their life: "Will I be the best in the world at this thing?" or simply speaking "Will I make it past the dip?". You must be thinking, "This is so stupid?". My friend, if you look at your side you'll see me (from the past) seated in the same boat as you. There can only be one person who is the best at something in the world and if everyone is to be best at at-least one thing then soon we will run out of things to be best at. But when the author says 'world' he means that it is for us to define its boundaries. For example, if you are an electrician, you don't necessarily have to be the best in the whole wide world to reap the benefits of being number one. You just have to be the best in your city or the area you serve in that would be enough. Saving ourselves from going on a tangent of talking about this book what it essentially means is that don't waste time and energy on too many things neither of which you make out of the dip but pick paths you are sure about and focus 101% of your efforts in that area. So this year I will make an effort not to get good at a lot of things that I wish to be but to not even begin them in the first place and if already done so shut them down. Only pursuing things about which I am sure that if put in enough effort, I would make it past the dip.