Today, financial blogger J. Money sent me a link to David Cain’s blog post, Go Deeper, Not Wider. It made me very uncomfortable, and I needed to share it with you. Cain’s post made me feel like I got caught with my hand in the damn cookie jar! Seriously, I felt so guilty.
He describes what I imagine most of us in the U.S. experience during much of our lives – our relentless pursuit of new things, from hobbies to business opportunities to entertainment to consumer goods to finding the perfect place to live.
How many of us have a closet or garage or house full of evidence that we are always on the search for something new? Before we sold and gave away most everything we owned three years ago, we had a house filled with tennis rackets, yard games, CDs, DVDs. knitting supplies, fishing gear, camping equipment, art supplies, thousands of books, gardening supplies, party favors, brewing gear, cameras, musical instruments, bicycles and parts, canning supplies, and more. Each item was evidence of something we wanted to start, to do, but often abandoned.
Even now, in our downsized life, we are beginning to accumulate stuff once again. The stuff has its own issues (resources used, costs, storage space, etc.), but as Cain points out, it is, more importantly, a sign that we are searching, seeking, craving something. Why are we not satisfied with what we have?
Certainly this behavior is encouraged by our consumer society – we need to sell you something new – an item, an idea, a program. But, do we really need those new things in our lives? What if we could stop seeking, searching, accumulating long enough to delve into what we already have?
So, Cain suggests we give ourselves the time and space to enjoy, explore, and find deeper value in the things, hobbies, and businesses we already have. He suggests we take a year to go deeper, not wider.
“…we need to find a way to put up our own limits. When we give ourselves fewer places to dig, we go deeper, and what we uncover is more rare and valuable than the usual stuff near the surface.” – David Cain
I started this year declaring that I was not going to launch any new blogging campaign or set any particular personal goals, other than to just be. Cain’s post is a good reminder to me that I need to do just that. I need to stop seeking (and I do see the irony in that, since my blog is called Endless Seeker!) and just enjoy what is here in front of me.
I have already started a new art program this year, but it really is an extension of what I had begun last year (am I rationalizing?). I will continue to pursue that in depth. And this year, I know I will not be moving again, so perhaps this is a good time to slow down, stop seeking, find the deeper value in the things I have, the people I spend time with, and the hobbies I am already pursuing. Isn’t this what mindfulness is all about anyway?
How about you? What do you think of this idea of going deeper, not wider? What will you pursue in depth? Give Cain’s post a read and let me know what you think.