59 - Learning something is never a waste of time


Hello and welcome to The Spark & The Art creativity podcast. I'm your host, Tucker. This week is an insight and inspiration episode. We talk about skills, backpacks and curiosity. 

In last week's episode we talked with Emilie Wapnick founder if PuttyLike.com. Puttylike's one goal is to give people with multiple interests permission to follow them all guilt free. 

There is a saying "energy flows where attention goes.” There is another saying “Follow your passion and never work a day in your life.” These both imply that you have to choose one thing to do. But all that means is you need to choose one thing to do right now. It’s the pursuit of curiosity that creates the sense of fun that makes it not seem like work. 

As Emilie says in her talk  “We pursue these areas and we pick up the obvious skills but we also pick up a lot of secondary skills that we don’t even recognize and we end up applying those skills in other fields a lot of the time, in other projects.” Everything you do gives you skills that help you with the next thing. There are the obvious things like my graphic design skills allowed me to layout my children’s books and cd packaging. My experience doing crappy demos on my cassette four-track when I was 18 gave me the skills to record and produce this podcast. But there are the not so obvious skills as well. Emilie says, while she doesn’t practice law, her law degree helps her be a better author.

Every project you do teaches you something. Not just new skills but new insight about yourself. You’ll learn when you are at your best creatively. When you are at your best for management and office job type tasks. You’ll learn if you are best in 1.5 hour or 3 hour busts of productivity. Are you better in the morning or at night. What are you good at. What do you need help with. What do you like and what do you hate. How you deal with collaborators and stress and deadlines and on and on. The fact is though, you aren’t going to learn any of that if you don’t at least start. 

Don’t wait until you feel like you know something before you start. The only way to learn it is to do it. Don’t put something off that intrigues you because you don’t want to ‘waste your time’ only to find out it’s not what you want to do. It’s what you wanted to do. It’s what intrigued you. It’s what you were curious about if the question is in you you should figure out how to find some answers.

In another recent interview I talked with composer Maxime Goulet. During our chat Maxime wondered if he wouldn’t get farther in his career if he focussed on composing for the orchestra over composing for video games (or vice versa). But he enjoys both and they both reach him things. So right now he continues to explore both opportunities. 

In a very early episode I talked with musician & photographer Joe Harley. He used the analogy of a backpack where everything you do fills your backpack up with skills and knowledge that feeds into the rest of your life. You are all of your experiences all of your skills and talents. So don’t put off something that intrigues or excites you because it may not be your passion. Follow it because it will teach you how to be you and no skill you learn will ever be wasted. 

Here’s where you get to do some thinking

  • Have you been putting off exploring something because you were scared of the time it might take? 
  • What if you had started 6 months ago or a year ago? What if you just started now? 
  • What was it that excited you as a kid?
  • What if you tried it again? Imagine if you got that same sense of wonder and excitement. 
  • What interest could you explore this week? Tomorrow? Today?
  • What skills do you have? (Make a list and See if you can get to 50. I bet you can) 

Do you know someone who’s feeling a little stuck because they don’t know what their passion is? If you share this episode with them maybe they’ll realize they don’t have to choose one thing forever they just have to choose one thing for right now. The easiest way is to send them the short url TheSparkAndTheArt.com/59

If you follow the url TheSparkAndTheArt.com/59 you will find links to all the episodes mentioned in this episode as well as a link to subscribe to The Spark & The Art mailing list. When you sign up not only do you get an email each time a new episode is published but you will also get the list-exclusive commentary edition of my five song EP Born To The World for free.

Thanks for listening and remember you won’t get the art without the work and you won’t do the work without the spark.