Whatever your passion is, go for total immersion. That’s the message in Philippa Davies’ inspiring book Eureka! Making Brilliant Ideas Happen. Philippa argues that to succeed in whatever you really want in life you need to dive deep into your subject and commit wholeheartedly to it. You may have a passion to write a novel, speak a new language, learn to tango or make your community a better place to live but often this just remains wishful thinking because of the realities of daily life.
The pitfalls of multitasking
Those mundane tasks often dilute our dreams and we take on too many things at once. We could try multitasking but multitasking only works up to a point. Furthermore, this is borne out by a number of research studies which suggest that being more focussed on one task improves performance. We fool ourselves when we try to do it all. Feeding the baby, with one eye on the TV while trying to get that report for work finished can be both frustrating and demoralising.
I discovered this myself a few years ago. Before I became a career coach, my life’s ambition was to achieve a PhD. I was a part time student with a very demanding job which had to be my number one priority. In terms of the PhD, much as I wanted the accolade, I wasn’t really doing much about it and kept getting distracted. Months would go by and little progress was being made. Very few words were written and I was behind with my reading. It was only when I put aside some quality time and immersed myself in the project did I finally succeed. What worked for me was allocating a few hours in the morning every day before my main job started and a few hours every evening after it finished. Of course luxuries like TV and some other things had to go but it was worth it in the end!
Dedicated time slots
I suppose in my own way I was joining the ranks of the 5 to 9ers, a hardy group of people about whom Emma Jones has written in her book Working Five-to-Nine. How to start a successful business in your spare time. Many budding entrepreneurs use this approach as a way of immersing themselves in their fledgling businesses whilst holding down a day job. But it can equally apply in other non-work areas :
For example, before he became a full-time novelist, John Grisham used the early mornings to immerse himself in his writing before he started work at his law practice. Comedian Steve Martin developed his skills and passion for the banjo by practising for many hours in his car, with the windows rolled up, until he mastered the instrument!
If you want a life which is well lived and fulfilled surely it is important to do what you love. Once you discover that precious thing that makes your eyes gleam then go for it. Don’t hesitate but dive right in!