The sound track to the film Amélie – I am never really sure what the exact title is, but everyone of an age knows which film it is – is on in the background. It conveys an interesting atmosphere in my life – the noon soon is starting to breakthrough the clouds and it may be a lovely afternoon. I have a painting started, and I am waiting for a yellow wash to dry before I start painting buildings of Paris on on top of it. It is purely coincidental but here we are.
I have never worked out how much of the thoughts that go through my head are linked to the fact that I am me, or the fact that I am getting older. I remember telling a friend once that everyone had midlife crises all the time, except no one called a decision to change jobs completely at the age of 27 a midlife crisis but once you were 10 years older…oh boy. But the thing that strikes me most is that living has changed completely since I was 27, probably more profoundly than it did for previous generations. This morning, again, I saw another piece of advertising blurb designed to remind people they weren’t good enough.
I believe people need to be in charge of their potential, and not slaves only to one aspect of it. Work, job, career, is not the holy all of everything. It is at best a part of everything and it supports everything. But it shouldn’t govern everything.
In the meantime, if you’re writing puff blog pieces for a commercial entity about maximising your potential and you are talking about learning 3 technical skills, you are not really advising people to maximise their potential. You’re narrowing their potential remarkably.
I’d argue that a lot of people would be better off reading more, drawing more, doing stuff which has an indeterminate return on investment in terms of money but which has returns in terms of perspective. You can learn to code all you like but it is unlikely to give you any sense of your place in the world, and somehow, without that sense of their place…no one reaches their full potential.