There’s only one conclusive decision I’ve ever come to in my life; and that decision is that I will settle for nothing less than greatness. On any given day, millions of different thoughts race through my head. Thoughts about my future, thoughts about school, thoughts about my hobbies, my passions, thoughts about my friends, thoughts about my love life. And through the processing of all these thoughts, I’ve managed to reach the conclusion that I suffer from a bad case of indecision.
I don’t know if anyone who’s reading this has ever read Hamlet. Hamlet is the story of a man with great talents and great aspirations. He is loved and adored by the people, is a talented swordsman, great thinker and marvellous leader. But Hamlet had one fatal character flaw; he could never make a concrete decision about anything. He was plagued by his own tendency for philosophy, and he thought about things, thought them through again, and then thought about them later. He did so much thinking that the effect of his action was actually very limited, and it eventually led to his downfall.
The reason I make a reference to the story of Hamlet, is because I feel like my personality is a paralell to his. In our society, I feel like there’s alot of pressure to specialize and become great at certain things rather than being diverse but less talented in your interests. I also feel like there’s alot of pressure to set priorities for yourself because of the parameters that society requires for you to be successful. For example, in most people’s opinions, aspring to do well in school is a more realistic goal than aspiring to be an author.
In the renaissance days, there existed a remarkable group of people who seemed to be incredible at everything they pursued. These people are called polymaths, or more commonly, the “renaissance man”, and the prime examples would be Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo. Both of these men were vastly talented in a wide variety of areas, and had the opportunity to pursue all their interests to their fullest extent. I feel like the men and women of today’s society are not given the same opportunity; scientific knowledge is so advanced, music and artistry and writing are so high in standard, that it’s virtually impossible to be sucessful in any venture if that venture isn’t what you focus solely on.
Indecision for me comes from two main sources; myself and others. Let’s start with others; on any given day, I could hear any number and variety of “you’re a great writer, never give up on it”, “you’re a great musician, never give up on it”, “you’re one of the smartest people I’ve ever met”, “you’re a fantastic friend”, “you have a great imagination”, “you’re good at basketball”, or “you’re greatly diverse as a person”. This, as you would imagine, leaves me alot to chew on, and leads into the second source, myself. As I mentioned before, my driving purpose in life is to achieve greatness; but with all this varying input from so many people, what path should I be taking? How can I even begin to choose which way to go? I could get into all the ups and downs of each route, but I could write thousands and thousands of words about that, so I think I’ll keep it short and sweet. I listen to a beautiful song that I really enjoy, and I think “wow, I’d love it if I could write music like that, maybe I could pursue a musical career.” But then, maybe even later that day, I see some artwork that is inspiring, and then I think “I wish I could draw like that, maybe that’s what I’ll be pursuing.” And then I read poetry and the same thing happens again. And I always push myself to be better in school.
My indecision doesn’t just stop there, because I also have to decide if specializing into one thing is even what I want to do, or if I want to just become a diversely talented person and be decent at everything. Some of you are probably reading this and thinking “how can he be complaining about being good at alot of different things?” and I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, but sometimes it leads to me having an identity crisis.
There’s an interesting analogy to the way my mind works. Think of a lake that’s small enough to see all of it at once, but is several hundred feet deep. This is the mind of the specialized person; the person who is certain in their interests. Now think of an ocean that stretches for hundreds of kilometers, but is shallow enough to see the bottom, except for in a few places. That’s what my mind is like. In most areas, an observer will understand the depth of my understanding or knowledge of that area, but that won’t stop them from getting lost if they try to traverse it.
Indecision is an insect that bites me every day. I guess at this point I’m waiting for someone or something to push me in the right direction, whether it be to specialize or diversify.