Leonardo da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa and
The Last Supper. He dissected corpses and drew detailed sketches. He designed flying
machines, bridges, and weapons. He maintained extensive notebooks with studies on topics
ranging from plants to animals to human faces. Benjamin Franklin invented the lightning rod
and bifocal glasses. He studied demography and played multiple instruments. He was a
successful author and newspaper editor. He was the first Postmaster General as well as
governor of Pennsylvania and United States Minister to Sweden and France.
Isaac Newton invented calculus. He described the laws of motion and built the first reflecting
telescope. He wrote extensively about his interpretation of the Bible. He taught at
the University of Cambridge and served as Master of the Royal Mint and President of
the Royal Society. Da Vinci, Franklin, and Newton had various
interests and they sought to explore them all.
Da Vinci didn’t restrict himself to painting, Franklin wasn’t just one of the founding
fathers, and Newton did more than study mathematics. This stands in stark contrast to today’s
world which demands specialization. We learn about a few subjects throughout our
years in school and in college we pick one subject to devote ourselves to for the next
four years (and likely the rest of our lives). You’re either an engineer or a writer, a
doctor or a painter, an accountant or a psychologist. This makes sense in some respects as doctors
in training, for example, don’t have time for much outside of their grueling schedules — which
I appreciate as I wouldn’t want them to remove my kidney instead of my appendix.
Unfortunately, however, this specialization makes us forget that we are born curious and
built to explore. I decided to start writing about a month back.
Among the many imagined obstacles that had been stopping me from writing was this notion
that if I was to be taken seriously I had to have a ‘niche’. I had to be “The
Coding Guy” or “The Personal Finance Guy” or “The Minimalist Guy”.
How dumb is that? Why can’t I be interested in personal finance
as well as psychology? Why can’t I share my thoughts on writing as well as my thoughts
on social media? In the end, whether we’re writing about
coding, telling the story of how we bounced back from a breakup or sharing what we learned
from our favorite book, we’re writing about life.
We’re writing about life. We’re trying to find meaning. We’re searching
for inner peace. We’re hoping to discover happiness. We’re looking to stumble onto
explanations. We’re putting our message in a bottle and
throwing it out to sea. If we’re lucky, somebody will find it, read it, and throw
it back. Take a page out of the lives of Da Vinci,
Franklin, and Newton. Free yourself to explore all your interests.
Free yourself to write about whatever piques your curiosity.
Give yourself the chance to find the handful of topics that fill you to the brim with excitement.
Share your journey. You were born curious. Allow yourself to stay