I thank you for your constant thoughts and insights. I have an RSS application on my phone and only one subscription, which is SebastianMarshall.com. I can go on Hacker News anytime during the week to cherry-pick great articles from the continuous feed of articles, but I know that when I see that red (1) next to the app, I am going to read something excellent that day. [Sebastian: this was one of the most awesome things I've read, wow, thanks] Thanks for taking my email. Here's my question..
Do you believe that only great work can be produced by a mind solely devoted to that work at any given time? If so, would you be able to suggest books or resources I could acquire to being mastering concentration/mind devotion?
I feel that sole devotion of the mind to a project could pretty much be an obvious factor of amazing results, but I find it hard to implement in my own life. I know I have the potential (as well as everyone else) to do amazing work. When I research amazing work done by people, the research yields the author to be devoted to their work to the point that it seems the author had NOTHING but the project on his/her mind as they work on it.
When I study for college classes, I feel I am not taking in as much as I should be because my mind wanders on occasion, which is probably due to the idea that I have no interest in this class but the grade at the end. I understand that there will need to be emotional changes as well as mental changes in order to reach the status of a walking curriculum-sponge. I would like to hear your thoughts and suggestions on how to master concentration so that it may be applied to everything in life. Thanks Sebastian.
Thanks a really nice email C, thanks.
Re: intense focus, I don't think so, no. If you look at Steve Jobs, he was always dabbling in this or that random beautiful thing. He was getting into motorcycles or learning calligraphy or whatever thing unrelated to technology and computing. But he implemented and got a hell of a lot of that into his products later, partially because of his general love of beauty, typography, industrial design, etc.
I think there's probably some value in limiting the bulk of your creative time to a particular domain - then you could be more systematic and all your learning could be built on itself. Certainly, you'd be hard pressed to achieve a high level of mastery simultaneously in singing, painting, international trade, linguistics, archaeology, physics, and sports.
Even then, you might be surprised which disciplines helped each other, but obviously being scattered in such a way means you won't get past the most basic rites of passage in any of those arts, so you can't get deeper
But there are some domains that work well together. I'm pretty well convinced that all my time spent learning and applying finance, governance, history, and business all work together. Perhaps my growth curve is slightly slower than someone who just keeps doubling down and tripling down on one of those domains, but I think the synergy/cross-pollination will eventually lead the highly focused and driven broad domain expert in general affairs over the hyper-specialist in actual real-world result (though the specialist will possibly be better at his specialty).
To answer your specific question - "I understand that there will need to be emotional changes as well as mental changes in order to reach the status of a walking curriculum-sponge" - I'm not sure you can fundamentally achieve mastery over a field you don't really like. There's something to be said for training by forcing yourself to get better at things you don't like for training reasons, but I don't think it's long term sustainable. You'd be much better off figuring out a way to hack the system, get your classes/credits/credentials as quickly as possible in the topics you don't find boring if you need them, and then get on to graduate studies if you're going into academia, or go into industry, or art, or whatever actually stimulates you.
Thanks for writing, cheers,