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Furrows and fronts

May 18, 2020

You can only fight a battle on so many fronts. Every front requires contact with the enemy, and every contact with the enemy entails friction. Too many fronts and you’re surrounded. Despite the beard-and-abs combo that launched a thousand personal trainers’ promotional efforts in the mid-naughties, we all know how 300 ended.

(I ask myself: Why reach for a military analogy? The physics of the peloton would be more appropriate, the streamlining of effort to maintain maximum forward motion while conserving energy for the final slog. Fewer LOLs, though.)

My work is diverse and wide-ranging, switching between projects and contexts, juggling information and ideas. But my pastimes and interests are narrow and focused. Reading, writing, running, occasionally painting. I seek comfort in and draw energy from mono-tasking. Each is a furrow, that can be ploughed long, and narrow, and deep. (Not a trench. This is where life grows, not where battles are fought.)

Extremes teach us about ourselves, and six (maybe more – who knows at this point) weeks of lockdown would be wasted without some reflection. The thing lockdown has reminded me is that if you want to move fast, embrace the narrow. Whittle down, regather and focus, and don’t be afraid to discard.

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