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Should you try everything?

October 10, 2010

I hear a lot of talk about people who want to try everything in this life, and I feel it’s a fairly common idea between young people such as myself. But I’m not sure that this is a good way to go through life.

The advocates of such a philosophy would point out the importance of expanding your personal experience, and while I don’t necessarily disagree, I still believe that expanding experience is a means to an end rather than an endpoint in life. You might need that experience to leverage other benefits in life, and that’s what’s it for. You don’t need experience for its own sake. It’s not like your experience can be sold for money! 🙂

And even then, this gain of experience has to be directed rather than dissipated all over the place. If you want your experience to have any future impact, it has to be pointed towards expansion in a meaningful way. I could acquire the experience of playing the latest videogame, but is this going to help me in the future? It could, but odds are it won’t.

Now, the drawback to such specificity is that you really don’t know what tremendous experience might be lurking in an unexplored corner of your life. Some of the greatest achievements in history were probably conceived in such a manner, but so were many failures. However, I still believe there has to be some room for spontaneity, but it has to limited, simply because your spare time is limited.

Ultimately, there has to be a primary focus on which your energy is spent, I would say at least 70%. Like the rays of sunlight that burn through when focused by a magnifying glass, such is your energy. There has to be a certain endeavor in which you break through, or otherwise your efforts might just be wasted. The logical question then is raised: How can I be sure that what I’m doing is what I eventually want? But to that I respond: How can you be sure that what you’re doing is what you don’t want without at least a small breakthrough? You’re doing it anyway, and maybe have built some skills, so why not leverage a breakthrough in order to be sure. Are you willing to throw away time you have spent training and working just because it might be your calling?

In the end, I guess I’m not a big advocate of the idea of trying everything anymore. I think my energy, being at its peak, has to be spent wisely. That is, mainly focused on one specific target at a time, with something left for spontaneous discovery.

 

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11 Comments
  1. I agree that you should spend your time on something that will help your future…but I also think you should have fun and explore new things. There has to be a balance in everything that you do! Good Luck 🙂

  2. Ehab,

    Do you mean everything there is to do? Or all your options?

    The first one is impossible anyways, and any person who think he can do that is definitely nuts.

    But trying all your option is kind of tempting. mmm… May be you should notice the subtle things that make you like doing something, and then narrow your options.

  3. Samar,

    Definitely, It’s not about not having fun, everybody’s gotta recharge. I’m talking more about the other “more serious” part of life. 🙂

    Haitham,

    Like you said, it is indeed tempting to try all options, especially when they are all viable, and that’s a temptation I think we need to resist. And even if you narrow your options, I think the level of commitment required to succeed in a certain venture means that you can’t try more than one thing at a time, maybe two…

    • Ehab, Serious is boring 😛 but to be honest, I think you need to have fun there as well…

  4. It’s a character thing isn’t it? 1. Some people go through phases in their lifes where they are afraid of missing out on something: thus trying to do everything they can think of. 2. Others don’t need it, and only spend energy on what they believe will benefit them at some point. 1 = me 10 years ago; 2 = my husband all his life. I am still a bit like that – but not as wild as I used to lol. Now it’s more in discovering new things all the time. I can’t image myself live in one place more than 2 or 3 years – I get restless. And then it depends what you qualify of trying everything… But no, I don’t think it’s healthy to want to try everything!

  5. Samar,

    That’s why I had it between quotes 🙂 Yeah, work is never supposed to be boring…

    Babs,

    Hmm, interesting. It has to be related to certain phases of life for sure, and it could be just a character thing, maybe some are innately more focused than others.

  6. But what if you figured out that you do not want this thing? Should you just think about how much you invested in that endeavor an based on that decide if you are to stop it all and try something else or just quit anyway?

    It is kind of complicated and unpredictable. But the good thing is that it takes too long before it is too late =) and man, thus far I have seen many people starting with something, and moving to other things, as if they were sailing with the winds. Mind you, many of them are very successful.

  7. Of course, you don’t have to keep bumping your head against a wrong wall. But what I’m saying is that it’s difficult to really figure out you don’t want something before you have a tiny breakthrough.

    And, it’s NEVER TOO LATE… 🙂

  8. haithm permalink

    Thx Ehab 4 yet another gr8 post.
    I think there should be mechanisms for:

    – determining priorities
    – experimenting them
    – review

    good techniques r:

    80-20 rule
    personal board of directors
    thinking deeply bwt yr options

    and of course there is always room for modifications, whether drastically or minorally (is that even a word!) 😛

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