In The $100 Startup, Chris Guillebeau speaks about a remarkable example of obsession. Benny Lewis gets paid to learn languages. It started because he moved to Spain, yet after six months, he was not having much success. So he “decided to speak only Spanish for an entire month, with no exceptions” (Loc 853). “But the funny thing about using only another language is that you learn it much more quickly than when you rely on English as a backup” (Loc 853). He did better with the month-long focus than he did in his entire six months.
I’m trying to learn how to catalogue books and other items for a library. I know next to nothing about it, and I put it on the back burner these last six or so months. I try when I have a time, yet a few hours here, a few hours there is getting me nowhere. When I read about Lewis, I thought about Orison Marden Swett’s quote that “one talent with a will behind it will accomplish more than ten without it.” I’m pretty good at learning by studying something on my own (talent), but it takes something extra (will) to stick to a program when it’s not something in my wheelhouse.
Between the language-obsessive passage and the kick-in-the-pants quote, an idea sparked. When I’m in the flow, I can write a story in two hours or less. When I set aside an entire day to purge some excess clothing or other accumulated “treasures” in the closet, I can donate or dispose of bags. So why can’t I focus an entire month on just learning basic cataloguing for work?
Now, realistically, I have a career and a side gig, so I have to continue to read things related to them. But pleasure reading? And reading for self-improvement? All that time will be funneled into studying cataloguing. For a month.
It will be hard, but it’s doable, and I should see some impressive results an outcome. I’ll log my insights and travails as I go, to share the journey with you. My goal is to start sometime in February 2018, once I finish three books I’ve already started. Wish me luck, readers dear.