When I was studying to be an electrical engineer, our academic requirements laid out a path for us to take of study outside of core engineering. They wanted us to have breadth as individuals, not just core depth. But how many times did I hear, “Why do we have to study this stuff, it doesn’t apply to engineering!”
Today, there are an amazing number of disciplines to study and you can major in hundreds of subjects. People say, “I am a cellular biologist” and “I am a peace mediator” and the list is endless. As such, we define much of who we are by our career titles.
When we are forced to “go outside our area”, we often resist. “I can’t do that, I’m an engineer,” says one student.
If we go back in history, we had less identification to subjects because there simply were not as many. And top scholars were more apt to span many disciplines simply in the pursuit of knowledge and growth. They didn’t limit themselves by identifying to a single discipline because they didn’t have to.
The point is this, that by identification, all identification, if we hold ourselves to strongly to it, we reduce ourselves to something less than we are. If we say, “I’m an engineer” and refuse to learn outside of our area or “self”, then we miss the richness of what the world has to offer. We put a limit on ourselves.
In doing so, we force ourselves to be off balance as human beings. If we want to truly develop ourselves as fully dimensioned, we have to move past the “I can’t” and open doorways to new subjects or new activities. Perhaps we have given up on “math” by saying “I’m not a math person” or decided that “quantum physics” is “beyond me”. Maybe we gave up on spiritual matters because “I’m a scientist.”
Development means we accept where we are at and make a change in a positive direction and one that gives us balance. We do something to enhance ourselves, whether it is on an intellectual, physical, spiritual or emotional plane.
If we remember that what we resist is often what we need most, then we will know which plane of existence to explore next. We will break through the strict identity issues that say “I’m not a walker” and into “Maybe I just will start walking.”
I decided to study massage therapy because the physical plane has always been my point of resistance and I knew I had to face my pain and heal (I had to work through scoliosis and rotator cuff injuries). It meant having to give up other avenues of development which my ego did not want to let go of, but it was needed for my growth.
So, I want to encourage you to give yourself permission to explore…embrace your childlike curiosity…expend some energy…and enjoy the development of your self. There is no need to limit your self. Try something new and outrageous and live a little!
Can I hear you say, “Maybe I just will!”