I love this idea of Triangular Focus by Everett Bogue:
These three things are important to me:
- Writing (and publishing)
- Eating (well)
Whenever I’m presented with something outside these three, I have to ask myself: does this take me towards these goals, or away from them?
I talk about simplicity a lot on this website, but Everett’s point is one that’s often overlooked. I think of it as the simplicity of self.
Just as it’s impossible to read everything, to see everything, to do everything, it’s also impossible to be everything.
Everett has identified the three things most important to him, and as a result, he can pour himself completely into each of them.
When I was little, I wanted to be an archaeologist. Then, I wanted to be a karate instructor. Then, I wanted to be a famous bass player. Then, I wanted to be a student affairs professional. Now, I want to be a writer. It’s natural for these dreams to change over time, but eventually I have to figure out what’s going to define me for the rest of my life. What do I care about most?
I would still love to be a famous bass player, but I’ve started to accept that that’s not likely to happen anytime soon. That’s not to say it couldn’t happen, of course. If I really set my mind to it and put the hours in, I could probably make it happen. So, perhaps more accurately, I’ve decided not to become a famous bass player. Luckily, that doesn’t mean I have to give up bass playing. In fact, I still play every day. Bass will always be a passion of mine, but it’s one that’s been relegated to a lifelong hobby, rather than a potential career path.
Being everything at once is like trying to be everywhere at once; it’s exhausting and, ultimately, impossible. Think of it as quality versus quantity. Do I want to be a decent bass player, and a passable writer, and a part-time karate instructor all in one? Or would I rather spend my time and energy focusing on being the best I can possibly be at one important thing?
The more identities you have, the less attention each receives. It’s like being involved in seven different clubs in school. Can you become, say, president of all seven clubs and still perform to the best of your ability at all times? I’m sure that sounds doable for some people, and I commend these individuals for their ambition and superhuman abilities.
But for me, I’d rather live a calmer and more focused life. Looking at Everett’s three things, I see they’re not much different than my own: writing, exercise, and diet. These are the things I care about.
If, at this time in my life, my day consisted of eating well, exercising, and writing about things I love on this website, I don’t think I’d be able to imagine a better existence.