Have you ever thought about how good you could be at one thing if you were single minded about it? If you lived and breathed it. If you fell asleep pouring over it or forgot to eat because of it. Imagine you were like a mad scientist driven to succeed at just one thing… How good could you be?
I walked around the State library the other day. As usual it was packed. It’s always full of students. Every day. Why? Well because they’re single minded people with an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. That and… the State Library has kick ass free Wi Fi.
I observed the girl sitting next to me, who was watching Better Call Saul on Netflix and scanning the pages of Metaphysics textbook that was open in front of her at the same time. I should have been thinking ‘that’s such an inefficient way to study’ but all it really made me think was ‘maybe I should get Netflix cos that show looks really good’. Who was I to stand in judgement of this poor Metaphysics major? She was only subscribing to the modern way of learning (and Netflix). A burst of highly focussed energy and concentration must always be rewarded by some casual scrolling through Instagram or perhaps an episode of Game Of Thrones.
A couple of weeks earlier I went to the Opera for the first time to see Don Giovanni (read about my night here). Flicking through the program, I learned that Mozart had, in fact, written all the music for this particular Opera, completing the overture on the eve of opening night. ‘Imagine how dedicated and single minded Mozart must have been’ I thought. He composed over 600 works. Where did he find the time to do all that? I’m struggling to write 10 songs for my band’s second rock album and I have the help of five mates!
Would Mozart have been able to compose all those parts for Don Giovanni with an IPhone sitting on top of his piano though? Would he have been able to resist the unexpectedly compelling season of Married At First Sight currently screening on channel 9? Sure, Mozart was driven and focussed but he never had to tread through the minefield of distractions that we do. Could a modern day Mozart even exist?
I’d like to compose an opera myself one day… but I’m not prepared to give up playing soccer or writing my blog to do it. I’m not going to miss seeing the new Jurassic Park at IMAX next week and I refuse to give up my ticket to Origin 2 at the MCG. There’s just too much good stuff to see and do these days. If I do ever get around to composing a symphony, don’t expect more than one movement.
What distractions prevent you from being single minded about your goals? Leave a comment below…
* In the interests of full disclosure, I checked my emails, read a story on news.com about Matthew Richardson’s goalkicking, responded to an SMS from Ange asking me to pick up some toilet paper on the way home because we are running ‘dangerously low’ and checked the odds for tonight’s Port vs Geelong match during the writing of this piece.