You were made and set here to give voice to this, your own astonishment.*
With the increasing specialisation of knowledge, and professionalisation of everyday life, suddenly being delighted by something, or loving something, was seen as vaguely disreputable.**
Tom Vanderbilt is reflecting on how the meanings of dilettante (from the Italian dilettare – “to delight”) and amateur (from the French aimer – to love”) have changed over time.
The work I’ve been developing for more than twenty years is about helping people to develop their talents into strengths, to focus on what they are good at and passionate about, but as Vanderbilt ponders,
What new passions might there be out there that you’ve yet to discover?**
It’s a good question that provides me with both nuance for my work and a personal challenge.
Quoting Winston Churchill, he encourages me to turn to other things which I can both love and delight in. Not in order to become an expert but, as I would suggest, to wander through:
It may well be that those whose work is their pleasure are those who most need the means of banishing it at intervals from their minds.^
The other delightful and lovely part of this is that we have no idea as we begin just what will be added to to what we love and delight in most of all.
*Annie Dillard, quoted in Rob Walker’s The Art of Noticing blog: Olfactory Work;
**From Tom Vanderbilt’s Beginners:
^Winston Churchill, quoted in Tom Vanderbilt’s Beginners.