I’ve come to realize something very important.
I have only so much room in my head.
Lately I’ve been filling my time – and my brain – with TED talks, Kahn academy lectures, web-found life tips, inspirational quotes, harmonica lessons….
You get the idea.
It’s like I’m trying to level up.
But it doesn’t work that way. I won’t finish watching a TED talk on the importance of classical music and suddenly become enlightened. There’s no SHAZAM!-like quote that will transform me into ‘The Renaissance Man’.
Nirvana is not a youtube video away.
I envision my head as a bookshelf. Some ideas and skills fit into nicely. Scientific method? Simple, elegant, easy to learn and implement – it’s like a slender leather-bound book that fits neatly on one end of the bookshelf. Save ten percent of my income for retirement? Not a problem.
But how about the principle of ‘Always be good to others.’?
Not so easy to fit – some things you do are good for some people, but not good for others; how do you reconcile that? What happens when being good goes against your own self-interest? It’s a big idea. It’s like placing a large, weird, abstract sculpture on the shelf. It’s not easy to follow every day, in every act I do. But it’s an idea worth striving for.
And! At least I can get my mind around that idea. There are some that I just can’t grasp in a meaningful way. Stuffing those ideas into my head is like trying to keep a sack of playful kittens in one place. There’s no way. And that’s fine – maybe I’m not ready for that idea. Or maybe it just isn’t the right idea for me.
But back to the point.
There’s only so much room in my head. And sometimes I try and cram in a bit too much.
I’m not saying I plan to stop watching TED talks – really, they kinda rock. But I think I’m going to slow down on collecting character-building facts, and focus on better understanding the pieces I’ve already got in place.