Notes from a Floating Life Thoughts about productivity, digital living, and leading a simpler life

Thoughts About Trying New Things

A while back, technical communication blogger Tom Johnson wrote an interesting post about changing interests. As many of Tom’s posts do, that one got me thinking.

In that post, Tom asked:

How does one stay open to accept new experiences? How do you keep from cutting yourself off from new ideas? Does a constantly changing set of interests lead to a shallow character and amateur skill set?

Here’s part of my comment on that post:

As for your question about how to stay open to new things, I don’t think there’s much you can consciously do. Just keep your eyes and mind open. Something will pull you in. Or, in your case, several somethings. And if you never get past that amateur skill set you mentioned, so what? At least you’re trying something new and having fun. I hope you’re having fun anyway …

If don’t try new things, you stagnate.

It’s that simple.

Changing interests isn’t a bad thing. It shows that you’re growing and changing in some ways, and that you want to (or, at least your mind wants to) learn or experience something new.

But that doesn’t mean you should just hop around and latch on to every shiny, new thing that catches you fancy. We all have, and will always have, core interests. Things that have latched on to our imaginations and our hearts and held on to those imaginations and hearts. I know people who’ve, for example, practiced the same martial art or listened to the same genre of music for literally decades. They’ve gained a depth in those areas that others never will.

But those people don’t make what they’re interested in their sole focus. They’re willing to explore other physical activities or turn their ears other genres of music. They watch films, try new foods, read promising new authors or explore classic books. They try to learn how to cook or try to pick up a new language or to travel to a country they’ve never considered visiting before.

In the end, it’s all about wanting to grow. To do that, you need to push yourself out of your so-called comfort zone. Even just a little. Regardless of what some snobs preach and what the so-called purists will say, you don’t need to become an expert or aim for depth if you don’t want to. That amateur skill set that Tom mentioned is often enough if you enjoy something. You don’t need to be the best. You just need to become the best that you can or want to be.

Embracing a change, trying something new, or moving out of your comfort zone might not result in a radical change to who and what you are. But it can change how you view things. And how you view yourself.

Thoughts? Let's start a conversation on Twitter.

Did you enjoy this post or find it useful? Then please consider supporting this blog with a micropayment via PayPal. Thanks!