As the title suggests - I can see this blog post being one of my biggest to date, and I'll pre-warn you the subject matter might get a little bit 'heavy'.
And just to punctuate that point - Im going to start with dying. Sort of.
I've been off work since Monday with the same issues with my stomach I had a couple of months ago. Really severe stomach cramps, vomiting, nausea, lethargy. It's been pretty horrible, and my other half will tell you - I am not a good sick person.
When I went to the doctors with the first bout I was told it was diet related and duly started eating more regularly as instructed - however it's obviously flared up again so this time the doctors advised me that they would take some bloods and do some tests etc and I was put on a course of medication to help my stomach in the meantime.
Now I'm not one for being melodramatic and consider myself pretty 'happy go-lucky' with most things and never ever not even once, have I attempted to self diagnosis. However a lot of different scenarios were running through my head as to what could be causing this problem and the big C came up as one of the top hits on that doctor we all visit on occasion by the name of Google.com.
This (I think) is pretty absurd. But it did get me thinking not so much about dying, but instead about living life.
Apparently it takes 12 years to become a master at anything (something like 10,000 hours).
Look at that number again. 12 Years to become a Master at anything.
At first, that seemed like a big number to me, but in actual fact, if you think about it - in the grand scheme of things it's not that big a number.
I'm 28. If I had seriously applied myself to anything at the age of sixteen then that 12 years would be up already. I mean think about what you could do if you had 12 years worth of time to do something, think of what you could accomplish, or more importantly, think of what you couldn't!
I'm going to put it out there now - I dont think there is anything, anything at ALL, I couldnt do if I had twelve years to do it and the dedication to see it through.
This idea got me thinking some more about life, time and ultimately kicking the bucket. The average life expectancy in the UK (for a guy) is 79.5 years (for women its 82.5, so you get an extra 3 years to become masters at something!). Now that's a hell of a lot longer than the twelve years it takes to become excellent at anything. In that time frame, you can become excellent at alot of things. If we assume you dont start trying to be excellent until your 16 then there are five lots of 'mastery' to be obtained. Thats a lot of potential for one person.
So why dont we see more masters? I mean with a planet of people burgeoning on 8 billion souls each with an average life expectancy of at least, lets take an average and say 50 years, that's still a lot of dudes that could be becoming masters. But aren't
Michaelangelo was a master artist and sculpture (for the love of god I hope that isn't news to anyone out there) who died in 1564.
That was 451 years ago, in that time frame how many other people have come close to his level of skill with a brush. Not that many. Yet there are billions of people throughout the world with all this potential time available to them and yet true masters of any craft are few and far between.
Bach was a composer who died in the late 1700's some two hundred years ago and despite all of the musicians that have graced the planet in the time since his death - how many have reached his level of mastery?
And this isn't limited to musicians and artists, Archimedes the Greek mathematician and physicist died before Christ was born - and the guy, now wait for it...he worked out Pi.
Is it just me that that astounds? With no modern points of reference, or peers of equal calibre to coerce with he worked out that Pi was a constant, irrational number that stood for the ratio of a circles circumference to it's diameter regardless of the circles size - 2200 years ago.
That blows my mind.
But back to masters, and why I think these are fewer and further between in todays modern world.
In a word the answer is: Distraction.
Or possibly Variety would be more apt.
In todays world there are an endless amount of pursuits available to everyone at the touch of a button. If I search for 'hobby's' in google - literally thousands of results will be returned. As a result we often tend to find ourselves pursuing one interest until we become proficient (or give up) and then progress on to another.
Back then this didn't happen. Would Michaelangelo have painted the Sistine Chapel if he had an XBox to play, or a Kindle with half a million novels to read? It wasn't a hobby for these masters of the past that they pursued, it was a way of life.
Now I'm not saying that distraction or variety is a bad thing. I love having so much information and knowledge available to me and I'd like to consider myself as good at a lot of different things, but Im no where near a master in any area.
And to be honest I dont ever intend on being so. But the twelve years of time thing did get me thinking.
There is a lot I want to do with my life - a large part of it, I haven't even thought of yet. But the stuff I do want to do with it is going on a list. Call it a bucket list if you will, I'll refer to it as my 'To Do List'.
And what better time than now to start writing one.
In order to curb the size of this post somewhat I'm going to transfer the list to a tab once I've finished writing it up,
But in the meantime, seriously consider what youre doing in life right now, and ask yourself - what do you want to achieve in the next twelve years.
Because honestly you can do or become whatever or whoever you want to in that period of time.
Dare to Dream