Saturday, July 24, 2010

On Focus of Occupation

I strongly dislike the idea that I have to choose a path for my life, particularly in regards to my career, and stick with it, never straying. It has long been frustrating to me that we live one life and may have one career, may never see all things or learn all things or do all things while we exist on the Earth. I have rejected the idea of a single career, and preferred the idea of two or three or four careers in a lifetime, some simultaneous.

But how does one manage such a thing? It would likely entail receiving multiple degrees, and would certainly make it much harder to become expert at anything, or to cultivate real passion at anything, or even to have much free time. We are not, perhaps, meant to be so scattered.

So, perhaps I should be a writer only, or at least make that my plan. But what shall I write? Articles, poetry, fantasy, science fiction, biography, science, adventure? Fiction or non-fiction? Literature or the popular style? How much does one need to focus?

Last year, I had a conversation with someone about Focus in this respect. He, too, seemed to reject the idea that such focus of occupation is necessary. As an undergrad, he had gotten a Math major, with minors in Economics, Physics, and Statistics, and he has written myriad papers on myriad areas of math and science. He spoke with disdain of a professor he knew who overestimated the value of focus, a man whose concentration on a particular area of number theory was nearly very detrimental to his career. I thought, well good, someone agrees with me, someone intelligent and in a very effective life position.

Since then, I have given it more thought.

The main basis of Economics, Physics, and Statistics is Mathematics. Every paper this guy has written is about Mathematics. The problems he solves are based in Mathematics. His skill, his Focus, is in problem-solving with Mathematics. He is not unfocused. He has a concentration, and an effective one.

I can't be a tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor, AND a writer (unfortunately), but I can be a writer of fiction, non-fiction, articles, poetry, and more sections of the Dewey Decimal System than Isaac Asimov should God be willing for that to happen. I'm good with that.

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