Don’t Discard

A fascinating perspective that I’ve been leaning into more and more these days is the idea that it’s okay to pursue a plethora of things all at the same time and that focusing on one thing isn’t nearly as important as loving fully and engaging the many.

In other words, the often shared advice of focus, focusfocus, might not be as good as it is proclaimed to be. For more context, watch this TEDxAustin talk by Steven Tomlinson:

Here’s the blurb of him and talk:

Steven Tomlinson is convinced none of us has limits; and passionately convinces with his presentation. As a business educator and coach, performer and playwright, Steven moves people from all walks of life to remove self-imposed barriers, and to become the very best version of who theyre meant to be.

In his talk he shares how he was trying to figure out what he wanted to do with his life so he went to go talk to a professor, Will Spong, and shared with him that he loved three things: Theater, Business, and Seminary. And, he wanted to know which one he should choose.

Here’s Spong’s response:

This is the stupidest question anyone has asked me. You’re telling me that there are three things you love and you want me to tell you which two to cut off…so you can limp along on the other one?

This is not how things work. The advice I have for you is: Don’t discard.

Find a way to keep all three of these things in the mix. We’ll find out [what you should do for a living]. Right now, what you do is spend 2 hours a week whole-heartedly engaged in each of those 3 things. Let them them talk to each other. Something will begin to happen in your life that is unique and powerful.

The idea and challenge of combining the somewhat disparate parts of your life into one that is cohesive and even symbiotic is awesome and reflects more of an entrepreneurial mindset than anyone that I’ve encountered for some time.

Let them talk to each other. I love that idea.

I think it’s possible. Heck, I think I may have been doing this for quite some time. Sadly, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to optimize away from this. Perhaps it’s time to stop doing that.