No! I don’t mean quitting your Pluralist life but I have been thinking about all the things I do and have done and I’m wondering about whether I should put some of them aside.
It’s amazing how our commitments stack up, incrementally, until we realise that every moment of the day is accounted for. It’s so easy to agree to things, to take on a ‘little’ project, to add one day a month (it’s only a day!). It’s easy to get involved in a discussion, have strong views, feel passionately about something, only for it all to translate into an obligation we slightly resent.
There are many common themes amongst the conversations I hear at Pluralist Club events but the word I probably hear the most is ‘time’. Time to do all our work, time to fit in meetings, time to research new projects … time always seems to be in short supply.
However, there are also occasions when time is our enemy in the opposite way. We rush about making arrangements and plans, only to find that other people aren’t ready. We believe that we have got organisations involved, only to find that their decision-making processes are glacial, leaving us high and dry. The more people and companies involved in a project there are, the longer the chain gets and the slower everything becomes.
You would think that tunnel vision or single-mindedness would be incompatible with the Pluralist lifestyle but in my experience it is in fact a vital component of a successful portfolio career – the trick is to have several tunnels.
I rather like the way that ‘resilience’ is a noun that applies to both people and materials in similar ways. ‘The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness’ and ‘the ability of a substance to spring back into shape; elasticity’ (Oxford English Dictionary). Resilience is a quality we all need but particularly if we are going to put ourselves out there and offer ourselves up for new roles or experiences.
Even if you don’t have children at school, it’s impossible to escape the New Term feeling around us in early September. The shops, newspapers and TV schedules all tell us that summer is over, as do the longer and colder nights. Unlike New Year, we are feeling relaxed and refreshed at the end of summer, rather than bloated and hungover as we often do in early January. It seems like a good time to review our lives and think about what we are going to do next.
It’s hard to know how other people see us and however they do, it’s even harder to try to be someone you are not. Most of us have probably reached a stage in life where we no longer try to fit in with other people’s ideas of what makes a useful or interesting person. That said, we almost certainly have characteristics which our friends readily identify and to which we are oblivious, or, at best, indifferent. Yet these characteristics are often the ones we should be using, developing or taking into new fields.