Is it better to focus on one thing, or allow yourself to do many different things? There is usually a consensus that if you do one thing, you do it well. If you branch out, you'll never be a master at anything.
I don't know if I agree with that or not. Sometimes, I feel like if I did just focus on one thing, I would get extremely good, but I just don't have the attention span for it. When my brain is working on a painting and gets stuck, it helps tremendously to go and do something completely different. It's like it lets that part of my brain sleep and recover and then can wake up with new ideas, while the rest of me is still creating.
Here are some extremes:This is an itty bitty painting, only 6 inches across, done in watercolor. It is of my beautiful little cat, Shadow. Painting releases stress for me, and I tend to get lost in a painting and the time flies by.
The other extreme: Big friggin' glass sculpture
This big thing is the Lifetime Space Achievement Award for the Space Foundation. That's me and my partner, BJ, with award recipient Jim Lovell. Jim is holding the individual award that he gets to keep. (It's on display at his restaurant north of Chicago)
This type of building feeds the engineering part of my brain. Figuring out how things will fit together, and then creating the pieces and carving them to complete a larger whole piece is more complicated, requiring me to keep a lot of portions in my head at a given time. The thing I don't like about this process is that I'm really bad at seeing progress. I see things finished. If I'm making slow progress, I tend to get discouraged and think I'm not getting anything done. And than all of the sudden, one day the whole thing gets done, like a surprise to me.
I certainly don't think I'm a master at any one thing, but I do think I'm pretty darned good at a number of things, and if I had to choose which one to focus on and become a master at, I think I'd go insane. Also, given my temperament, I still don't think I'd become a master at the one thing. I'm just too hard on myself. And anyways, I feel like if you finally DO think yourself a "Master," then you're closing yourself off to growth and learning, and what fun is that?
What do you think? Do you have experience with Many vs. One? Please post a comment.
- Focus on One Thing, or Many?
- Focus on One Thing, or Many? - Part II