Achievement Unlocked

The first time I’d read Heinlein’s Time Enough for Love was in High School. About 30 years ago. One line from the book that seemed most meaningful that, in varying forms, stuck with me throughout the years was on specialization.

Rather, it wasn’t directly from the story itself, but it was a sub-story within the story — from the section, “Excerpts from the Notebooks of Lazarus Long”. Lazarus Long, is, of course, the’s book’s the kilt-clad protagonist.

His notebooks contained wise sayings, recommendations, cautions, realizations, what have you.

One of those excerpts from his fictitious notebooks was this:

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”

Heinlein, Time Enough for Love

For a long time, I had commented that somebody must learn of and actually do each one of those varied tasks throughout life.

Save one. That last.

Not very convenient — you won’t witness your own death.

But it wasn’t until quite recently that I realized that I had, in fact, achieved every single one of those diverse skills as of December nearly three years ago. In fairness, whether it was “gallant” is open to interpretation — so, die gallantly, provisionally.

I’ll take it.

Oh, also:

Yeah, I’ve always been the person who did things out of the natural order.

Adjusting the Sails

See also, The Toolbox Fallacy.

I find that I often speak in metaphors. It’s not intentional, necessarily. Sometimes metaphor or a reference to a scene in a movie or a verse in a song or a story conveys meaning far better than a ten thousand words of my own.

Sometimes, just one borrowed line conveys appropriate meaning:

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.

Not Theodore Roosevelt

As another had remarked, it summarizes and strips away every excuse you have for not doing something.

So, why did I begin this with Adjusting the Sails?

I’ve found that when the wind isn’t going the direction I’d expected, hoped, or planned. It’s time to adjust the sails to weather the continuous metaphorical storms.

I’m adjusting my sails quite significantly and changing my course. I need a sense of meaning… a sense of purpose.

With shaken and shattered confidence in my career field, it’s time to pursue an alternate career.

What do you want to be?

When I was a boy, people would say, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Of course, I hadn’t decided — still haven’t. But, often, I’d ultimately say, “Happy.”

“Oh, no, no…” they’d start, condescendingly, “you didn’t understand the question.”

“And I don’t think you understand life.”

The Toolbox Fallacy

If you wait until x, you can’t do y.

Of if you only had x, then you can do y.

Don’t make excuses for not doing what you want to do. Do it.

The associated post is here. Go read it. Well, read it first. Then watch the video.

Somewhat related, not starting/buying/doing/going until a perfect th’need is available. There’s probably a Fallacy name for that.

It probably falls quite squarely within the Toolbox Fallacy.

In the end, if you make excuses to not do x until a better y is available, then you will always be waiting.

Just do.