Well-rounded niche-seeking

From Seth Godin’s blog this morning…

It reminds me of what my mom used to say about keeping doors open.  She wanted me to have as many options as possible, and I’m grateful.  But I sometimes took it too far, and spent so much energy running around keeping doors open that I used up time that may have been better spent going through a few of them to find out what was on their other sides.

Niche-seeking sets us about distinguishing ourselves. Kids are often ready to get started before we think they should be, and it’s tempting to encourage them not to get too focused too soon.  But it’s possible to keep exposing them to a range of pursuits while also letting them get busy at whatever’s calling to them.

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2 Responses

  1. Wow, Seth Godin nailed one of my insecurities about myself — that my well-roundedness is just a cover for mediocrity. I like your image much better of going through doors, not just opening them. And his black and white thinking that it’s either a kind of mushy everything or it’s one risky sharp well-dong thing seems a bit extreme (is that my well-roundedness objecting?).

    I think your point is the one to hold onto in terms of our kids — which is not to feel we have to drag them away from their passions lest they miss those seven thousand doors over there. If they are intensely focused on something they love, then that is reason to celebrate, regardless of their age!

  2. This reminds me of the speech that I gave at my “highschool” graduation (the quotation marks come from the fact that I decided to stop going to school when I was 16 – I had too many other, more interesting things to do). I didn’t really care about having a ceremony, but my mom insisted that I would be glad I did. I guess I am.

    Anyway, in my speech I said exactly the same thing – that I had been too busy running around trying to keep my doors open that I hadn’t been able to take the time to go through any doors and explore what was on the other side. I think the thing that is good for me to remember is that once I head through any door, there will probably be more doors on the other side…and just maybe these doors lead to things I’ll be even more excited about than the ones in the first hallway!

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