I’ve become interested in 43 Things – What do you want to do with your life? I was scrolling aorund there the other day and I read that somebody’s 80 year old father had observed that if he’d practiced the flute for just 20 minutes every day of his life he’d be quite adept by now.
I think that’s probably true. I can’t quite imagine me being good at playing the flute, but it would be good. One of the best pieces of advice I ever received was that if I wanted to be at the top 5% of my chosen field all I had to do was read one book related to my field every month. That would be 12 books a year. I think that’s very true. Most people might get through a book or two a year related to their field. After a couple of years (24 books) you’d start to have a bit of an edge. After five years the edge would be quite obvious. The weak link in the chain is after a while new, good books in your field become somewhat hard to find – so I guess that means it’s time to start writing your own.
If I was running a class in a primary school I’d want to spend some time, every day; drawing, writing, reading, making music, working with numbers, doing some exercise – some of the foundation skills that will be so useful in adult life – not necessarily for getting a job (not everything has to be measured by getting a job) but purely to enhance life and enrich the spirit.
Building on the good advice I received there aren’t too many days that I don’t read some non-fiction, information resource building book, and increasingly, I find myself writing every day. I endeavor to read for at least 15 minutes a day, and write – usually, but not exclusively, here. It doesn’t sound like much, but it helps relax and engage me, but best of all, 15 minutes a day builds into 90 hours (give or take a little) a year – two and a half working weeks – much better value, in my opinion, than those one day courses that are supposed to do so much benefit in terms of professional development. I don’t think I’m anywhere near the top 5% in my field – I don’t really have an employment field to be in the top 5% of – but I get a range of new information and a lot of pleasure, so I’m going for that in the meanwhile.