Friday, January 26, 2018

Deeper, not wider. Going deeper requires patience, practice, and engagement

No new hobbies, equipment, games, or books are allowed during this year. Instead, you have to find the value in what you already own or what you’ve already started.

You improve skills rather than learning new ones. You consume media you’ve already stockpiled instead of acquiring more.

You read your unread books, or even reread your favorites.

The guiding philosophy is “Go deeper, not wider.” Drill down for value and enrichment instead of fanning out. You turn to the wealth of options already in your house, literally and figuratively.

People are already getting sick of being half-assed about things.

A big part of the Depth Year’s maturing process would be learning to live without regular doses of the little high we get when we start something new. If we indulge in it too often, we can develop a sort of “sweet tooth” for the feeling of newness itself. When newness is always available, it’s easier to seek more of it than to actually engage with a tricky chord change.

The consumer economy nurtures this sweet tooth. There’s just so much money to be made in selling people new paths—new equipment, new books, new possibilities. The last thing marketers want is for people to get their excitement and fulfillment from what they already have access to. They would hate for you to discover the incredible wealth remaining in what you already own.

It’s wonderful to have the freedom to continually widen our interests. But like many luxuries, it has an insidious downside. Ever-branching possibilities make it harder for us to explore any given one deeply, because there’s always more “newness” to turn to when the old new thing has reached a difficult or boring part.

As long as we live in a consumer culture, it may always be easier to go wider than deeper. Going deeper requires patience, practice, and engagement during stretches where nothing much is happening. It’s during those moments that switching pursuits is most tempting. Newness doesn’t require much at all, except, sometimes, a bit of disposable income.

Extracts; full text

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