Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Multiple slashes

This post is dedicated to you, my friend, and to my belief that you could be as big in cricket as you are in software design today.

I was reading a series of brilliantly written articles on 'media law and ethics' when I spotted a familiar-sounding name in the list of writers.

Jim Carey.

As soon as I realised that the surname was one 'r' short of the celebrity actor's, I was laughing to myself.

"Yeah right, like that Jim Carrey can write such articles on 'media law and ethics'!"

And then the very next moment, I went "Why not??"

Why do we find it so difficult to believe that one guy who's known for something because he's really good at it, can't be known for something else he's perhaps also very good at?

If Leonardo da Vinci could be a renowned scientist, artist, sculptor, inventor, engineer, architect, musician, mathematician, and so on (the sheer number of commas in the sentence is mind-boggling), why can't a Jim Carrey be a comedy actor who is also a legal guru with brilliant articles on Media law and ethics to his credit?

Why do people stick to only one thing they are good at, even though they know there are many other things they want to do? Is it lack of time? Is it laziness? Or is it the hunger to be so good at that one thing that we fail to recognise the possibility that we can be equally good at other things too, and just put all our energy and passion into that one thing?

Just like celebrities, most of the time, we're content being very good at that one thing we do. As long as we do what we do so well that we're celebrities in at least Domains A and B of human interaction.

Domain A consists of just us. There's no one else in there. It is a domain where we're not just good, but we're the best. We're the best in the domain. We're the celebrity. No one in that domain can do the stuff as well as we can.

Once we have achieved that status in Domain A, we start eyeing Domain B. Domain B is our closest circle, our friends and family. Within this domain, we're all kind of 'mini-celebrities'. And each one of the mini-celebrity knows which one's the best at something, within the domain, defined by terms we use such as 'bond' ("She's a bond at Java", "he's a bond at cooking" and so on).

Then comes domain C, the world around us. Where we get lost in the crowd of a gazillion faces. Where, forget being a celebrity, most of the people in our domain don't even know we exist. And it's the ones who can shine in Domain C who become celebrities. It could be luck, it could be talent. But truth is - most of the people in Domain C know them. Because of that one talent they have, which they have honed until it made them shine above the rest. Made others in Domain C acknowledge their prowess. These celebrities also had their Domains A and B, but now the first two domains don't matter too much now, because they're visible in the largest domain.

That's for celebrities. What about us, common ordinary people, happy in their domains? Glad to have that one thing we are good at? Devoting most of our time and energy in being the best at only one thing (and some of us can't even manage that). Do we care that there is something else we could have excelled at? I'm not talking merely of the things that we do on the side. We all cook a little, sing a little, dance a little, paint a little. I'm talking about removing the things from the side, and putting them centrestage, along with your primary talent or skill. Some people are, of course, happy doing that one thing, and giving it their all. But there are many people I know would like to take their other talents further, but they are so bogged down by undefined, unexplained phenomena, they just play it safe and classify them as 'hobbies'.

We just don't do it. Even though we want to, we don't. Why? Why do we assume that we can only be brilliant at that one thing, and be known in any of the domains for only that one thing?

Why are there no more Kishore Kumars? Someone who was always introduced not just as an excellent singer or an excellent actor, but as both.

Kishore Kumar. Singer-slash-actor.

Where are the people like that today? Those who could proudly pull off the multiple slashes after their name? Where everything on each side of the slash was significant, important enough to be mentioned every time the person was mentioned, and not just as "also does blah blah".

Where are such people in the modern age?

They are surely hiding amongst us? They are surely hiding within us?

How many commas would you give yourself?

And how many commas would you want to give yourself?



13 comments:

pandora said...

yeyyyyyyyyy...gold..
yeyyyyyyyyyyy

pandora said...

hmm..:D..

i'll read the post baad mein;)
...happy holi :D

pandora said...

@ moonwalker

look i did it this time :P
seems gold silver n bronze is mine..:D

Negative Creep said...

I'm not sure i agree with your post. You seem to give too much importance to domain C as you call it, to what other people will think of you or say about you. I mean does it really matter?? To me, it's only domain A that really matters and maybe to a lesser extent domain B. I don't care if i'm known as the guy who can do a hundred things, or just one thing, i'm only interested in doing what i love to do. And if you can find a lot of things that you love enough to take them up full time, good for you. But i'd much rather find something that i really wanna do and which i enjoy doing, and do that with complete dedication.

The problem with the post is that it seems to be based on the assumption that pride in yourself and happiness in your accomplishments is decided by how good you are compared to others, or how good others percieve you to be, and that's worthless. Leonardo Da Vinci took up so many things not because he wanted those many commas after his name, but because they interested him, because they piqued his curiosity and his interest. The only person he competed with was himself. And that's how it should be.

Sayesha said...

#Pandora,
Happy Holi, pagal ladki! :)

#Creep,
Hmmm... not sure how different your interpretation is from my intent, but I was pointing not to the importance of Domain C, but to its presence and effect.

//And if you can find a lot of things that you love enough to take them up full time, good for you. But i'd much rather find something that i really wanna do and which i enjoy doing, and do that with complete dedication.

Precisely. That's the difference between you and me. :)

//The problem with the post is that it seems to be based on the assumption that pride in yourself and happiness in your accomplishments is decided by how good you are compared to others, or how good others percieve you to be

No it's not. And that's why we have Domain A. But sometimes, we do need Domains B and C, to shake us up a little, get us to step out of our self-created haven where we're the absolute and the supreme.

Like my friend Surreal Reality likes to say:

Hum hi hum hain toh kya hum hain?
Tum hi tum ho toh kya tum ho?

//Leonardo Da Vinci took up so many things not because he wanted those many commas after his name, but because they interested him, because they piqued his curiosity and his interest.

I totally agree with you there. And I am not saying that we should do these multiple things because we wanna shine in Domain C. Anything we do should only be because we wanna do it. What I am trying to say here is that many of us don't realise how possible the multiple slashes that we always wanted, are. (Please note the words 'we always wanted'.) We want to do it, but we either get lost or scared of failure, and stick to the 'safe route'.

Eclectic Blogger said...

(a) none
(b) all

Vikram said...

I think one comma is enough for me.

Vikram, the invincible. Muhahahaha

Raam Pyari said...

@sayesha: hmm...well i think the level of expertise required to get even a small amount of sucess in any field in tudays world of cut throat competition is sky high!
everyone around is damn gud!
its tha zamanaz of expertise...there is no place for the also rans !!
hence it is indeed rare to come across...

but...
yess, you do make a sensible point there..very often a lot of us let some thing good, if not great remain ordinary...tru indeed..
and yess!!
happy holi:D

@pandora:grrrrrr......oye teno ke teno le liye:( :( yeh kahan ka insaaf hoying mi-larrdd!!
*breaks into unstoppable tears*
achcha achcha drama band, happy holi to you, chotu singh!
and btw, boars hoying naa??? kaise hoying???

bananapen said...

Hey, that's uncanny... I was just think ing about those hyphenated occupations like actress-model or banker-entrepreneur! ;P

Big Bad Boy said...

Hey Sayesha,

Happy Holi !

Ya I think today there is tough competition everywhere. Soo everyone gotta be specialised in what they are doing....

Bye ! Have a nice day !

VT said...

I don't concur with moonwalker's view that it has become any tougher in our times to be successful in multiple divergent fields. It is aa tough as it was ever, otherwise why would we find only handful of such people like Leonardo Vinci over the eons? The lack of enough resources, tools, collaborators and like minded people was as big an impediment to individuals like Leonardo in their times as the intense competition in any field of our times.

Also I see there are two distinctive things we need to consider in discussions on success - one as "I" perceive it and two as perceived by world around. For me understanding the concept of differential and integral calculus on my own better than what was taught in class was a tremendous success. What difference would it make to the world - one more guy is having the same feeling of accomplishment that thousands before him have had when understanding calculus. But does it in anyway diminish the excitement of my success any less than what Newton might have felt like when he had first used it as a tool to solve point mass gravitation problem?

Like most of you, I'm too a person having multiple fields of interests. Designing business solutions with SAP gives me my bread and butter, but after I go home I pursue my interests in physics, astronomy, world history and modern medicin none of them have anything to do with software. Nothing gives me as much satisfaction as solving some physics problem or understand an astronomy concept or read through britannica articles on history.

IMO gathering knowledge(and thus satisfaction) in multiple fields is much more fulfilling and important than being able to be 'succssful' in them.

So in a way I concur with the essence of what I think Sayesha's article is about.

VT said...

I also dream writing as lightly and humorously as you do Sayesha, but then it always had been my dream!

Sayesha said...

#Eclectic,
Hmmm....

#Viks,
Or rather, Vikram, the impossible! :D

#Moonwalker,
You're right... sometimes the competition just kills the quality of life, doesn't it? We often end up doing not what we like, but what will keep us in the competition :(

#Banana,
Muahaha! Great minds think alike! :D

#Big Bad Boy,
Happy Holi to you too! :)
ps: Yeah, it's gotta be the competition. :(

#VT,
Whoam what analysis! Impressive! It's already a blog post! :)
ps: Thanks! :)