Forever an amateur.

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I’m currently reading Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.

Not only is it a great book, but some of the chapters are hitting home for me. Especially the section on Amateurs and Professionals.

Some time ago, a close friend and I discussed our future and our interests. He was asking me if I’d ever want to specialize in a particular field, “don’t you want to become great at ONE thing?” he asked.

I’m the kind of person who caresses a million interests and hobbies. I dabble in coding, video editing, photography, cooking and many more.

I had trouble articulating why I didn’t care at the time. It has never been an objective to master any fields for me. I enjoy the process of learning.

Here is an excerpt from the book that clearly defines this point:

Some individuals prefer to specialize and devote all their energy to one activity, aiming to reach almost professional levels of performance in it. They tend to look down on anyone who is not as skillful and devoted to their specialty as they themselves are. Others prefer to dabble in a variety of activities, taking as much enjoyment as possible from each without necessarily becoming an expert in any one.

It is so easy to feel diminished when doing anything as an amateur. But here’s the kicker:

originally, “amateur,” from the Latin verb amare, “to love,” referred to a person who loved what he was doing. Similarly a “dilettante,” from the Latin delectare, “to find delight in,” was someone who enjoyed a given activity.

I’ll hopefully forever remain an amateur. I’ll keep on loving the pursuit of my interests. I will continue finding delight in continuous learning.

I’m greatly enjoying my time with this book and highly recommend it. If you want to learn more, here is a link to a TED Talk he gave:

Gabriel Ducharme