A year of depth with David Cain

A Year Of Depth with David Cain

David Cain from Raptitude joins Jillian to explore the concept of going deeper instead of wider. Learn to get more out of the commitments you've already made rather than look for new things.

Go Deeper Not Wider

The inspiration for this conversation was sparked by David's post, Go Deeper, Not Wider, and the idea of creating a year of depth.

The idea is to really look at what you’ve already got in your life and cultivate the value that’s already there rather than spreading out wider to new pursuits.

One example that David gave was about books. If you take a look at your bookshelf, you probably have many books that you haven't read yet. Although you assumed you would read them when you bought them, the books continue to still on your shelf unread.

Another example is hobbies that you've started at one point but never followed through on. You might have thought that you would become very proficient at playing the piano or fluent in a new language. However, you haven't taken the time to work with the tools you've bought to practice these hobbies.

Why Do We Start Something New

If you have all of the books or tools you need to pursue a new hobby, then why do you feel compelled to buy all of the supplies for a different hobby? Probably because we get a high from starting something new by buying more supplies. The impulse of buying these supplies represents the thing that you just might start.

I think it’s really a function of living in a consumer culture where we’re constantly being advertised to and people are constantly trying to sell us things. And so they want to sell us the means to do something deep and fulfilling, like using the example of learning a language, or learning a musical instrument, or anything else, or just a book. But there’s an additional cost beyond that that we have to pay in time to actually develop the skills and to cultivate that value.

When you are able to recognize this pattern in yourself, it marks a level of maturity that you are going to be less flippant about the things you bring into your life. For example, when you buy a book, you assume that you are going to read this book. As you purchase the book, you get a small high based on the belief that you are going to follow through on this pursuit.

That high is predicated on the belief that we are going to put in the work afterwards to actually cultivate the value.

Cultivating Value

Our society has been engineered for us to seek out the pleasure of acquisition. When we buy the thing, we think we are getting all of the value from that new pursuit or hobby. But in reality, it will require more effort on our part to really enjoy the value of this new pursuit.

I think sometimes it’s so easy to want the identity, but most of the transformation is in the work and its in the progress. You know, buying a gratitude journal doesn’t actually do the work for you, it just provides the vehicle to do the work and then you have to show up every day and figure out the thing that you feel grateful for.

When Jillian hosted a retreat last fall, she shared that there were two ways to be successful. You can either continue making progress. Or you can quit and acknowledge that it is just not the right path for you. The only way to fail is to stay stuck where you are at currently.

Difficult To Go Deeper

In many ways, it is scary to go deeper with the hobbies you've already started. You might not have your talents honed or you might find that you simply don't have the time. If you find that you can't move forward with a particular interest, it can be difficult to accept. For example, giving away your guitar would solidify that becoming a guitar player is not in your future. It can be difficult to challenge the beliefs you've created for your future self.

As you dig deeper into certain hobbies and passions, you will run into your own limitations. It can be painful to realize that you aren't exactly where you want to be. However, when you work to move beyond those moments of frustration, you can potentially find fulfillment.

We really have to give up on these dreams that we really thought we were going to have. There isn’t enough time to master all of these languages and read every book and master all the musical instruments you’ve ever picked up in your life. There just isn’t time to do that and it’s hard to let go of the idea that you’re not going to be this thing that you’d always thought you’d be on some level.

Takeaways From Digging Deeper

After undergoing a year of depth himself, and in the company of 1,000 Facebook participants, some common themes arose.

For those pursuing a creative endeavor such as writing or drawing, it was painful to get started. After years of neglecting their passion, it was painful to realize that they weren't quite great yet. When you know that you are lacking, it can be difficult to keep pursuing your dream.

David shared this idea from Ida Glass about the struggle of creatives:

For us creatives, when you get into the pursuit of writing or making videos, or whatever it is. The reason you get into it is because you have really great taste. You know what’s good and you want to make what’s good. But when you start you just don’t have the skills. And so there’s this big gap that you have to cross where you’re making something that doesn’t meet your own standard. And that’s painful to keep making stuff and just keep putting it out there. And it doesn’t always get the reception that you want to get. And you know that ultimately you want to be doing better, but there’s nothing to do except to cross that gap.

If you want to bridge the gap, you have to keep showing up. Although it can be painful, it is the only way to move deeper into your passions.

How To Connect

You can read more of David's writing on Raptitude. He writes about intentional living and getting better at being human.

Find Your Courage

If you have been enjoying these episodes and want to dig deeper, then check out our Everyday Courage workbook. The free workbook can help you to take these ideas and turn them into action. Let's create your best year ever!

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In this episode, Jillian recommends Tiller. Tiller puts your financial life on a spreadsheet that automatically updates with your daily spending, transactions, and account balances each day. Try it free for 30 days to see if this is the tool that can really help empower you with your money this year.

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