Tuesday, September 16, 2014

"You can do anything, but you can't do everything."

That quote is by Greg McKeown from his book titled, Essentialism. I picked up the quote in a recent post by Joshua Becker from his BecomingMinimalist blog. Joshua has some great insight on minimalist living and finds some terrific sources for his ideas.

I'm sure many, if not most of us were told, when we were youngsters, that we can become anything we want to become and achieve anything we want to achieve. I'm sure most of our parents had great aspirations for their progeny.

If they were highly successful in their profession and career, they expected us to follow in their footsteps.

If they were working class folks like laborers, factory workers, civil servants or similar occupations, they wanted us to do better than they did.

What our parents didn't expect was for us to choose something that we were drawn to because we loved whatever it was, but was probably not deemed to be stepping up, but stepping back. Maybe we wanted to be  skiers, surfers, forest rangers or whatever. It just wasn't conceivable that we might choose to do something we loved rather than do something purely for the money. Our parents, relatives and family friends would do everything they could to dissuade us from following that course even though it was what we CHOSE and wanted. Some of us relented and gave up our dream - our "anything." 

I bring this up because I've been going through another short period of writer's block. This time I realized something that hadn't crossed my mind before.

I've had an interesting and, reasonably, free and exciting career in the electronic media. But, at this stage of life I've chosen to reinvent myself as a writer. I feel a good writer must be inspired to write whatever will he will pen (there's an old term in a digital age).

As I read Becker's blog, it dawned on me that my writer's block isn't always caused by not being inspired by something. Actually, more often than not, it's because I'm overloaded with things I want to write about. Call it input or information overload. Thus, I am stymied by not being able to select one of many topics that have captured my attention and inspiration.

So, this is where the other part of Greg McKeown's quote comes into play, "but you can't do everything." Nice going, Greg. I think he nailed it for me. I can do anything. I can write about anything I choose to. But, I just can't do everything and I can't write about everything. I know, this sounds simplistic (which is part of minimalism, anyway).

We live in an extremely complex society with literally tens of thousands of bits of information flowing through our lives everyday. How can we process it all? I don't have a clue. I surely haven't figured out how to do it or I wouldn't be writing this.

So, I'm accepting that I can't write about everything. I'm also realizing that the longer I write (the length of  an article) the fewer people have the patience to plod through it, even if I'm revealing the solution to the greatest mysteries of life. So, I'm going to begin providing information in smaller doses with an occasional essay on some very inspired topic. Some other bloggers I follow may use photos or a short video clip to tell the story or make the point. I may, too.

Peter Drucker said, "People are effective because they say 'no,' because they say, 'this isn't for me'." So, I'm going to say 'no,' this isn't for me when I am mulling over topics to write about and you get to say 'no,' this isn't for me when you check my blog to see what I'm expounding on.

My intention is to provide useful, valuable, thought provoking and inspiring content in shorter articles with the hope that you'll find more content you can relate to and use in your own life. 

By the way, this article is actually the size of an average newspaper article. Watch for more like this. 

1 comment:

John W. Abert said...

Well said. I think you're on the right track. And many people are visually oriented, so images are also important, even if they are stock clip art. They don't always have to be original photographs...just something to break up the text.