A love affair with getting better: the love of your life or an unhealthy relationship?

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“If you aren’t growing, you’re dying, no matter how good you are at what you do.”

From “How Eminem Stayed Relevant” on Copyblogger.

I hope I never get to a point where I feel like I know it all. I know that intellectually that’s completely impossible – the very fact that the world is ever-changing means that even if you could know it all, you’d only know it for a millisecond and then have to play catch up again. But what I mean is I hope I never feel like I know it all.

Dennis Cahill at Loose Moose Theatre once told me that if he knew that improv would work 100% of the time, he would have lost interest 20 years ago.

I love that.

Just overlooking for a second what that statement says about improv itself (i.e. that it’s risky, even if you’re super skilled there are no guarantees), I love that this implies that no matter how long you’ve been doing it, no matter how amazing you are at it, no matter what…there is always room for improvement. Always.

I worry sometimes though that I’m a bit too in love with being an eternal student. That is, I don’t have a problem with wanting to learn more, but I fear that I’ll get so caught up in just learning, learning, learning that I won’t actually bother with putting it into practice. Like somebody who attains degree after degree after degree at university until retirement comes a’beckoning.

What do you think? Do you struggle with a fine line between wanting to learn more and just getting stuck in a love affair with educating yourself?

Or is is JUST ME. AGH.

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jennywynter Written by:


  1. September 22, 2010

    Pffft! It certainly ain’t just you! I feel like one lifetime is not nearly enough to learn everything I want to…which is likely why I am tolerably good at a great many things, but not exceptional at any one of them. I think it’s a choice you have to make – what do you want more? I suppose there is always time after you’ve “made it” at something to go back and try something new (like all of the actors-turned-musicians and musicians-turned-photographers etc.) Try to excel at your favourite, but keep other avenues of creativity open for exploration, I always say. And I mean, like, ALWAYS. Every day. Uh, yeah.
    😉 K

    • September 22, 2010

      Oh my goodness Kate, you’ve NO IDEA how much your words are talking to me right this moment!!! I was just thinking today about a pending choice I can feel a-coming. Agh. It freaks me out. More to come……

  2. September 22, 2010

    Sometimes it feels like there is soooooo much to learn to read, to do, to see, it’s overwhelming. Then I just have a drink and say the heck with it. But no, it’s not just you. Speed reading should be taught in grade school so we at least have a fighting chance! Had I the money I’d take courses at University based on what intrigued me, not for some stinkin degree! What good are they anyway. (stuffy voice) Oh yes I have my PhD. in bla bla but can’t tie my shoes! (happy voice) no, no I don’t have a degree, yes I’ve been in college for 20 years. But boy do I know some really cool stuff!
    Sometimes a little of everything is better than alot of one. In my humble opinion.

    Pop over to my blog and say hey. Love “hearing” your posts. Always makes me smile. And I’d fly down under to see you improve about the Christian and the comic!

    • September 22, 2010

      You’re not kidding! It is overwhelming – especially in this day and age (why do I feel like my grandma when I say that?) when there seems to be a gazillion e-courses I find each week that I would love to take. Boy oh boy.

      And thanks for your lovely words, popped over to your blog before and left a bit of comment love! 🙂

  3. Franipantz
    September 23, 2010

    Jen, if I stopped learning or wanting to learn I would be so incredibly bored with life I would probably curl up and die. When I’m in jobs that don’t demand enough of me, or I feel I’ve ceased learning in – I start looking for another job.
    I did an entire science degree in ecology that I have done absolutely NOTHING with in terms of employment. But I learned things I reeeeally wanted to know more about and still make use of in many unexpected ways.

    I think there’s too much value in society on learning for a purpose, rather than just focusing on the fact that it’s actually fun and healthy to exercise our brain neurons in areas that interest us.

    My point is – Don’t be afraid that you’re wasting your time and energy in learning more. You probably NEED to do it more than you realise. It’s not just on the WANT list.

    Eventually you’ll find a use for everything you learn that interests you. It all goes on the stockpile of massively useful information, ready and waiting to inspire you when the moment calls for it.

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