A Cross-Applicable Principle

by jeffarmstrong

I am a great believer in ‘cross-sector skills’.

I am a fairly observant person and I like to listen to people. I know many people from very different professions and levels of ability. I also love to read about science, religion, philosophy… well whatever is going.

Possibly the single most important thing I have learned from this broad self education is… ready for it… All knowledge and skill-sets are transferable across a great range of activities. The one skill that we all should develop is the ability to APPLY our unique set of experiences and knowledgw to any given situation.

We often do this without realizing it especially in the physical world. If you’ve ever played football and found yourself catching a bottle on your foot so it doesn’t break or you learned to dance and you use your learned rhythm and balance to stay upright on the bus then you have done exactly that.

Have you read ‘The Book of Five Rings’ by Miamoto Musashi?

When the tea master met the samurai, he thought the samurai was a Ronin (that is a samurai without a master like a mercenary), and this insulted the samurai greatly. The samurai was so displeased that he challenged the tea master to a dual the next morning. The tea master was terrified. He ran to the only sword master he knew and pleaded with him to train him in one night to become an able swordsman. But the tea master was a hopeless student. No matter how patiently the sword master tried to teach him, the tea master remained inept. At last the sword master said to him, “Just approach your sword fight the way you approach your tea ceremonies,” and gave up.

The following morning, with a heavy heart, his fate sealed, the tea master reluctantly went to his appointment. When he faced the samurai on the misty hill he shut his eyes tight, lifted the heavy sword above his head, then concentrated and centered himself the way he did when he performed his tea ceremonies. At that, the samurai threw down his sword, got down on his knees, and begged the tea master for forgiveness. “If I had known you were such a great swordsman,” he said, “I never would have challenged you!”

While I do NOT recommend all you tea masters to go out there and get into sword duals, to me this epitomizes the idea of bringing your mastery of one set of skills to any endeavor through your intellect and will.

Socrates say’s ‘The unexamined life is not worth living.’ Why? I think this is one reason. Examine your skills and see your true potential. The more you attempt the more you learn. You will fail and you will succeed. If you do both equally you are doing better than 99% of the rest of the world.

What the ding-dang-diddly-heck does all that have to do with photography? Please let me know…

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