The Learner's Paradox
Movement becomes restrictive when we fail to focus on a single point, yet a highly effective specialist is a generalist at heart. This is the paradox we face as online learners. It is a paradox that we face at each fork in the road. There is often a strong drive from within us to do everything and be all things to all people. However, this comes at the cost of a lack of authenticity and a depth of understanding that is only found through specialisation.
I am currently reading the book Essentialism; the Disciplined Pursuit of Less. This book has allowed me to see that we always have a series of choices to make, but this fact of life can become lost to us when we fail to prioritise. If we don't have clear priorities then it is hard to see where the choices are. If I don't commit myself to learning a new topic or choosing family over a work event, then I will miss the fact that there is a choice to be made here. I think that prioritisation also leads to more effective focus. Prioritisation is what allows the generalist to become an effective specialist.
I have spent numerous years learning in diverse fields of interest. To this day it perplexes me why anyone would discredit the value to any field without first learning about it. The positive side to this attitude is that I have uncovered many patterns for myself simply by having a more open mind. These insights are what allow me to learn something new based on things I already know. The downside, however, is that I don't get very far when I try to do everything.
In order to strike a balance I have brought in discipline and focus to narrow my path for me. I learn primarily as a means of growing and to have a deeper and more fulfilling experience of life. Through learning I have realised that there is a lot more than meets the eye. Therefore I wanted to focus on a field that was in constant evolution and that allowed problem solving and creativity.
I chose to focus on programming because it is a field that is continuously evolving and it is an area where people can earn a decent living. I don't believe that money can bring happiness in and of itself but I think it is a catalyst through which we can have impact in the world, whether our intentions are positive or negative is up to us as people. Programming is also a field that flows into numerous other fields and it is an area where a lot of creatives are found.
Operating with a Clear Head
From dipping my toes in different areas I have found that human psychology touches every field. From what I have read and from my experience of the world around me, it appears to me that human communication is where most problems and solutions start and end. With this in mind, as I am learning to code I have also chosen to read, be coached and educate myself around clarity of mind. I have found that I am much more effective when I have nothing particular on my mind. When I experience this calmness it frees me to focus on the task at hand in the present moment. Moreover, when I experience clarity of mind I also experience a sense of peace and happiness. At the end of the day, is that not what we all are chasing behind the numerous trappings life has to offer us?
Did you find this blog post useful? Do you struggle with focus or procrastination? Would you like to have a clearer mind? If you have any insights, questions or recommendations feel free to leave a comment or drop me an e-mail.