One of my favourite articles of all time is by Raptitude (one of my favourite bloggers). It explains the concept of “go deeper, not wider“.
I love this concept and apply it to my life. What it means is to truly engage yourself in what you are doing or have now and deeply involve yourself and try to do that better, rather than try to branch out to make your life “wider”.
It is deciding that instead of trying to do new hobbies, get better at hobbies I already do. Instead of trying to acquire something new, use what you already have. Instead of making new friends, deepen the relationship you already have with your friendship circle.
Perhaps this is a concept you can take into your own life, but here’s what I’ve learned.
The inspiration for this post came from an exchange with a person I’ve known for a decade but rarely see. They texted me out of the blue and asked to have drinks and said they missed me. I suggest meeting up and they said they can’t do this month but how about in 10 weeks. I know full well that the day before they will cancel with a lame excuse, which they have done for the last year and so I haven’t seen them for 18 months. This is a prime example of how not to go “wider” with your social circle.
Widening my friendship circle and giving my energy and time to new people instead of focusing on the people I already have does not help. Spending time on people who are part-time friends and contact me when they want something leaves me exhausted and spread too thin.
I am trying (sometimes failing) to deepen the friendships I am already lucky to have. Dig deeper with the people who genuinely love you and would go out of their way to help you and be there. The people that turn up. There are many people who you may be friends with or enjoy spending time with, but it’s important to draw a line and have an inner circle. There is nothing wrong with having people inside that circle or outside it. People inside my circle get my time, effort and love. People outside my circle get my attention but the people within my circle take precedence (and that includes me!).
In the last year, I have tried to let go of unsatisfying relationships and focus on the ones I have. Yes it takes effort, yes you feel guilty and yes it’s worth it.
There’s a lot I’ve already said on my career. As I’ve said before, I have no lofty ambitions for partnership or leadership. It is not my goal in life.
What I do want to be is good at my job, whatever that may be. If I choose to spend the majority of my life every week doing a task I will do it to the best of my ability. I approach my job in that way: be good at what you are doing now, instead of sat there looking upwards to the next promotion.
I am a serial hobby-Jack of all trades. I will try my hand at pretty much anything. Unfortunately, over the years this has meant that I start things, become disillusioned or bored, don’t finish them and then carry around the guilt of not finishing them.
I recently started a patchwork quilt and had a frenzy of activity to get it half finished. Two months later it’s sat in the cupboard still unfinished and I have no will to finish it. Such is the fate of many of my hobbies.
My aim is to go deeper, not wider. Finish the projects I start and don’t start a new one until I’ve finished the last one.
The concept can apply to everything, even shopping. Go deeper and dig down into what you already own instead of buying new things. What can be repurposed and what can be adapted to fit what you need?
Use what you have that you were “saving”. Burn the nice candles and enjoy their scent. Drink the nice wine (it has a shelf life!) and relax. Use the fancy crockery, or make all your crockery fancy. Give away things you keep but will not use: someone else is bound to need or want it.
You don’t need a kitchen gadget for everything. You don’t need a beauty product for everything (I’ll do another post on this).
Another way of thinking is being happy with what you have – something being enough.
How do you guys go deeper, not wider?