One thing at a time

I’ve signed up for 61 courses on Udemy, and 32 on Coursera, and 12 on EdX. I have started about a third of these courses, and I’ve only completed seven or eight.

What does this say about me?

It’s not for lack of interest; I was excited about each of them when I signed up or bought them. It’s true that some were disappointing quality, but others were very good.

No. It’s a number thing.

Add ’em up: 105 courses. On topics ranging from statistics to songwriting, from acrylic painting to HTML5, from Adobe In Design to theory of game design. And I truly intended to learn everything in each of those 105 subjects.

Oh please – who does that??

If I live to be 100, I might be able to learn two of these subjects well, and five of them superficially. Or maybe a bit more.

But however many courses and subjects I learn before I die, here’s how I’m going to do it: One class at a time.

My new brain has developed a new set of rules. Some of the rules have faded in these five months since my brain surgery, but others have held fast and seem to be permanent.

One of the new permanent rules is: One thing at a time.

I have to stop scattering my attention like some kid in a roomful of brightly colored toys.

I’m not sure when this became such a problem for me, but I really try to do too much. I set unrealistic expectations and then feel overwhelmed. I pursue absolutely everything that interests me, and I’m interested in dozens of subjects.

I had a similar problem as a traveler. When you go backpacking in Africa at 36, you know you’ll only do this trip once in your life, and so you want to try and see everything.

That’s one of the lessons I learned in Africa: It’s a big continent. You can’t see everything. Once you get that, you just choose, then you savor, and you have a much better trip.

A variation on the classic, Be Here Now.

I know I won’t be able to do everything that I want to do in life, though there’s many days when I still think I should try.

If I keep starting new things, though, I’m not going to finish anything.

My brain taught me this because after the surgery it simply couldn’t handle more than one thing at a time. When I tried to do too much, it stopped me.

Writing this blog every day works well with my new brain and its rule.

My plan is to do 16,072 posts if I live to be hundred. With 16,072 posts, I might actually be able to write about every subject that I’ve ever wanted to write about.

And if I don’t live to be 100, I’ll still have written hundreds of blog posts.

One post at a time.

Today is Day 277… 15,795 more to go.

Today’s penny is a 1971, the year that Be Here Now by Ram Dass was originally published.