Do few things well

Lord Hanuman, an embodiment of dedication. In this case, Hanuman is shown kneeling, as a symbol of self-less service to the divine.

If you are going to do something, you might as well do it as best you can. No sense in just dabbling. Decades from now you will remember the few things you did with sincerity and rigor, not the many things you half-tried to do.

In this day and age it seems like people want to do more and more things, but want to dedicate less time and effort and focus on any given thing. Books are getting shorter. Short blog posts are replacing strong editorial and journalistic content. Tweets are replacing e-mails. Intense 20 minute get-fit-quick workouts are replacing leisurely and relaxing walks or runs or bike rides.Fast food is replacing sit-down dinners at home.

I think there is a shortage of people willing to take on a few (or maybe just one) task and do it well. Write a book. Run a marathon. Cook a 5-course meal from scratch. Focus on one business idea vs a dozen possibilities.

The power of focus and dedication to a single thing is incredibly under-valued right now. If I were an investor, I’d be buying.

Published by Ravi Raman

Executive Coach + Yogi + Endurance Athlete

4 replies on “Do few things well”

  1. Funny how the world seems to conspire to send us a message. This is the third time in two days I’ve heard the same thing from different sources: choose what you’re best at and throw yourself into it 100 percent. Being the best at one thing means you have to choose not to do everything else; otherwise, you dilute your efforts.

    My teenage son is a hardcore snowboarder with a lot of potential. With the season over till he goes to Mt. Hood next month for a few weeks of riding, he’s been focusing a bit on making remixes and thinking he’d like to do some DJ-ing. His coach on Thursday told him, “Dude, you’re a snowboarder, not a DJ. Time spent on something else is time not spent on riding, or training, or conditioning. You’ve got rare skills. Direct them where they should go.” It made an impression on him, and DJ Sammy J. retired before he ever got started.

    Love your blog; it’s the yoga blog I’ve been searching for since beginning my near-daily practice in April!

      1. I’m doing Vinyasa. Later today is my first intermediate class. I have an appointment with my orthopedic surgeon on Wednesday (due to knee pain) and hadn’t planned to bump myself up to the higher level till after I’d seen him, but one of my favorite teachers is subbing for the usual intermediate class today, and I just can’t resist. She’s really fabulous.

        Class is always fun and I work hard to find something new in each posture (especially those that stress my knees), but when it’s being guided by a favorite teacher, it’s just that much better.

  2. I love your blog and I find it truly inspirational. (I’ve actually discovered it yesterday, while making a google-research on the photo-reading technique… I’ve got the chance to join an introductory seminar on that technique next month and still not sure about it… what would you recommend? Which photo-reading programme did you buy? Did it really work? Please, if you don’t mind, let me know).
    About this post, what can i say? I agree, yet up to a point. I think that society is becoming more and more manic, as you rightly point out. However, when it comes to the job-market, or more in general to the individual life-planning, I actually note a trend which is opposite to what you say. I believe that nowadays there is a sort of obsession with specialization. You cannot be just a physicist, but a micro-physicist, or an astro-physicist, or a quantum-physicist, or… You cannot be a psychologist, but a clinical psychologist, or a relational-psychologist, or a social psychologist, or… Moreover, if you are specialized in one area, it seems you cannot be competent (or even interested) in any other subjects. For example, if you are a psychologist (that is, one of the many types of special psychologists) it seems you are almost not allowed to have an informed and valid opinion about cinema or history of art. If you are a physicist (that is, one of the many types of special physicists) you are not allowed to cultivate a passion for music or sport. If you have a degree in literature, your truly interests in biology or chemistry must not be revealed. If you are a photographer, your opinions about economics simply do not matter at all.
    Perhaps you are right when you say that we must choose wisely the few things we like, but what if we are good at more than one thing? Few years ago, I was suffering from the ‘EITHER/OR’ contemporary social model. Then, I’ve decided to replace it with the ‘AND’ model. If I want, if I truly want, I can be not only this OR that, but also this AND that. Why do we admire people like Leonardo da Vinci or Jhon S. Bell? Because they were good at many things. Their genius was not limited to just one subject-field. Few days ago I read an interview to a singer who has founded a quite successful rock-band despite his full-time involvement as a researcher in an important department of Chemistry. Being this AND that is not then impossible!
    Is it morally correct to limitate our intellectual impulses, to put boundaries to our potential? Should we really embrace the silent order for which we have to be EITHER this OR THAT, and that that’s the only way to go, or can we actually find more suprises when we try to push ourselves beyond the specialty obsession of our world?

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