Broaden your passions
Well. I have not posted anything in English for more than a year, but now, I would like to start writing in English again by sharing a piece of advice from Dr. Barbara Oakley. For those who do not know her, I should note that she is the instructor of one of the greatest courses available on Coursera, namely “Learning how to learn”.
By the way, I was taking a look at a post that Angelica, one of Barbara’s students, shared on LinkedIn. This is what Angelica said:
On December 13, 2016, Dr. Barbara Oakley told me “Don’t just follow your passions. Broaden them.” Supreme advice.
I asked Dr. Oakley to give me more information regarding her student’s post, because it seemed vague to me:
Dear Dr. Oakley. Would you explain your advice to Angelica and shed light on it by giving an example? Do you mean that we should read more books, learn more and get in touch with more things to develop interest in them? Thank you in advance.
And this is how she replied:
It’s always a little hard to tell precisely what resonates with someone. But for me, as far as advice went, I was always told to follow my passion. So I did. I learned a language, very, very well. And then I discovered that there were very few job opportunities if my sole professional expertise was the ability to speak that language. When I instead decided to broaden my passion–learn new subjects such as math and science that broadened my skillset–my life and career were much the better for it. Surprisingly, once I started studying and became better at math and sciences–subjects I’d always hated–I found that I loved them. That’s why I say don’t just follow your passions–broaden them.
It seems that some–or maybe many– of us hate subjects that we do not have any ideas about. For instance, when I was a high school student, I did not like English the way I like it today. But when I started studying at university at the age of 18, I found out that knowing English is crucial to succeed. As a result, I devoted 15-45 minutes of my day to learning English for 3-4 years, and now, I cannot imagine my life without being in touch with this wonderful language. Maybe we do not judge the subjects fairly when we know almost nothing about them, but once we grasp some ideas about those subjects, we tend to fall in love with them.
I will be more than happy to hear about your experiences in the comments below.
P.S. I got permission from Dr. Oakley to share what she said.