I have never been content and I’ve always felt I had more I could learn.
I recently saw a short video clip of a younger Steve Jobs talking about life and striving to make a difference. Take a look.
As you may know, I’ve been working on a novel now for two years. I’m working on my 8th version now. I use Scrivener (which I highly recommend) and can look back at other versions.
Looking back now, I never dreamed two years ago just how much there was to learn about writing a novel.
I know I am getting better, but it’s still not ready for primetime. Let me give you just one example. If you by chance write fiction, you might laugh when you read this.
In an earlier version, done by the seat of the pants, I in essence told my protagonist’s life story. I wanted readers to know how she got to where she was now.
A professor grinned and told me in a nice way that all the backstory stuff was a great exercise for me to better understand my character, and maybe I could find a way to weave some of that into my story, but I needed to start with my inciting incident that I had written as a prologue.
Will I ever publish my novel? I don’t know. But, I’ve had a blast learning.
I’m not sure really why, but I get energy “pumped up” when I am learning something and I greatly value people from whom I feel like I am learning something.
Recently I was researching why it is important to never be content. I found an interesting blog by Steve Olson: WHY REACHING YOUR GOALS WILL NEVER MAKE YOU HAPPY.
If you have a minute, take a look at it. Olson tells an interesting story about his four year old son playing Spyro 1. Olson’s son had accomplished a great deal in the game, but told his father:
The fun part is doing all the stuff in the different lands. Getting the gems and dragons is the fun part. Not the end. I don’t like the end.
Then the writer turns to Minnesota high school hockey which he compares to Texas high school football. He describes what the moment is like for players who have spent 13 years focusing on winning the state championship.
But in that instant – from that split second before victory occurs to the fleeting emotional moments afterward – the ultimate goal passes from the future through the present and becomes history – never to be experienced again. The actual experience of winning only lasts a few seconds! After that, it’s just a memory.
Then Olson makes his point.
You really want to be where you are right now. That’s why once you reach a goal you always set a new one. Happiness does not lie in accomplishment; it lies in the act of accomplishing.
That really resonated with me. It helped me better understand why I loved learning so much.