Earlier this month, I had my 10 year reunion whereby someone asked me if there was anything I regretted at Wellesley. My answer? I spent my first year fulfilling all my distribution and PE (physical education) requirements so that I wouldn’t be restricted to pursue what I wanted going forward. While I can appreciate the breadth of exposure to subjects early on, I could’ve taken such classes later to complement (or supplement) topics I wanted to dive more into. I ended up with a degree in two interdisciplinary majors. While this means being able to step back, look at the big picture, and connect the dots, I’m ready to hunker down and focus.
What’s Your ONE Thing?
After one of my fellow coworkers listened to a podcast on her looooong road trip, she was inspired to buy the accompanying book – The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan – for all of us on the team. Admittedly, it’s been sitting on my table for the past month, but I’ve been meaning to read it. For accountability, this will need to turn into a mini-series… to be seen.
Before I read this book, I’m going to hazard a guess about what my one thing is: intentionally spend 3 hours of alone time daily.
Why? The latest audiobook I’m listening to is Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. In it, she described in one study the difference between world-class musicians and musicians extraordinary in their own way, but not the cream of the crop. Surprisingly, what separated them was not the number of hours they practiced, and instead the way in which they practiced. That is, world-class musicians spent significantly more time practicing on their own as opposed to in a social setting.
My hope is that my renewed desire to focus will stick and that I’ll be able to leverage technology to do good, do better. There’ll be more to come later on this — one step at a time.
On the Bright Side
Because I tend to try everything of interest, it’s led me to the unexpected: from spending a month in India to learn about Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violence, to conducting a science experiment in Lake Baikal in Russia, to proving with numbers how education affects the way in which people vote.
To be clear, there’s no harm in dabbling here and being a generalist. Any experience can turn out to be a defining moment, a turning point, an aha moment. And more experienced people (aka my mentors) will tell you that, at their age, even they don’t know what they want to do — contrary to the current culture of knowing exactly what you want. If you subscribe to the philosophy of having a life plan (similar to having a business plan when starting a business) like I do now, you’ll likely focus on and prioritize something above all others.
And now it’s a matter of defining what you want — even if it’s to go with the flow and take in all that life gives you.
The person who chases two rabbits, catches neither.
— Chinese Proverb (often attributed to Confucius)