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How curiosity leads to adventure

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Several people have asked me recently to tell more about my acting experience, so this week I will describe it all in a bit more detail. Then, next post, I will write a bit more about of the life lessons of this time.  As I wrote two weeks ago, curiosity led me to drop in on the “theatre workshop” run by professor Bernard Uzan when I was a masters degree student at Middlebury College. (You can read the detail of that part of the story in the blog post from June 19.)   From there, one thing led to another. The teaching and the exercises of the course were completely new to … Continue reading

Some life lessons from artistic pursuits

John's reflections Leave a comment

Last week, I wrote of an example of deliberate practice from my past: studying theatre and performing with Bernard Uzan when I was in my twenties. As it turned out, and as I will explain further in the next post, my personal journey into theatre lasted nearly three years and proved to be quite a learning experience.   When presented with the opportunity to join a professional theatre company, I thought the period would be a fascinating interlude, time to simply follow my heart and explore. I certainly could see no relevance to what I had done previously or to an eventual career. Looking back years later, though, I have realized that … Continue reading

Following my curiosity

John's reflections, leadership, Leadership training Leave a comment

Steve Jobs’ story about his Reed College calligraphy class and “connecting the dots” got me thinking about whether I had ever experienced anything similar. In other words, was there a time in my life when I explored something I was simply curious about, not knowing where it would lead, and only discovered years later how valuable the learning was? As Jobs states, it is impossible to connect the dots looking forward; we can only connect them looking backward.  When I was a masters degree student at Middlebury College, one of the most colorful characters I encountered was Bernard Uzan, a young professor of theatre. Bernard was a well-known actor in France … Continue reading

How to find your passion

John's reflections, Leadership in the news Leave a comment

This week, a friend sent me an article about why “follow your passion” is bad advice. The article cites the book So Good They Can’t Ignore You, whose author, Cal Newport, makes the case that the “follow passion” cliché is flawed. He explains that innate passion is rare and has little to do with why most people end up loving their work, or not. In addition, he says, following one’s passion can lead to anxiety and chronic job hopping.  Newport contends that preexisting passion is not only exceedingly rare, it also should not matter. According to the author, one should work on mastering skills of one’s current job, rather than trying to find … Continue reading

A college education should be about collecting and connecting

John's reflections Leave a comment

It seems fairly often these days that I come across an article or blog that asks the question “does a college education make sense?”. Particularly in the United States, where a university education is expensive, the discussion often centers on economic calculations. For example, the argument may focus on these types of questions: How much will my studies cost, how much more can I expect to earn with the diploma, and how long is the payback period on this investment?  Each time I see one of these pieces, I am dismayed by the reduction of such decisions to their financial aspects. I would argue that the time one spends in university … Continue reading

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