Breadth or Depth? Adventure or Immersion?

A few weeks ago one of my friends, Nikolett Balogh, sent me an online article with the headline ‘Depth’. While I was travelling by train from Budapest to Győr I read the article and pondered on this topic. The author of the article, Steve Pavlina, states that in our modern, instant world we want to live the ‘breadths’ of life — on the social media platforms or by travelling as a digital nomad or through many, but often short-lived, relationships or adventures. As popular quotes suggest: ‘broaden your horizon’ or ‘get out of your comfort zone’.

There is no problem with this. It is a wonderful feeling to experience new adventures or surround ourselves with new stimuli: new people, new cultures and new worlds. And probably we have more opportunities to do that now than in all the past centuries put together. Hence, it is not surprising that we enjoy the benefits of instant gratification. On the other hand, these new experiences can easily and rapidly lose the joy that comes from their freshness and mystery, so we look after new adventures. We travel to a new destination, we replace our relationship partner with a new one, we gain new friends, or we just seek new stimuli on the world wide web every single day — because the unknown is adventurous, the unknown is exciting. And when we feel that a new place or person doesn’t provide us with more excitement we just leave them behind and shake the dust off our feet.

Let’s be honest: we  have all experienced this behaviour in ourselves one way or another. It is totally natural. I have felt similar feelings numerous times. I simply love adventures, the unknown, the new, the variety, the things which are waiting to be discovered—whether it’s a new restaurant or a bar, a country, a person, a new business project and so on.

However, the question arises: why is it that certain people can be so fully immersed and involved in an activity so that they can enjoy doing it for years or even decades? Whether it’s a career or doing a certain type of sport, or just enjoying a harmonious and meaningful relationship with someone. Why do they not get be bored? Why do they not give up on these activities and people instead of leaving them behind after a while?

The reason is that they became deeply immersed in the activity. They understood, realized and experienced that there is as monumental strength in depth as there is in breadth–if not more so. They understood that true commitment towards something or somebody is not equal to limited or narrowed possibilities. It is about the experience of other types of possibilities and adventures. The two do not rule each other out, and neither are they opposites–but different dimensions which can operate alongside each other. Eventually, how can we talk about breadth without depth or height?

If you experience this type of depth in your life, after a while, you will see that the experience of depth will bring you to a new level, and it will enable you to experience new types of breadths, too. For example, if you have learnt a language with years of hard work and now you speak this language on a high level it will open a wide range of other opportunities for you: you will be able to communicate with more people, read material in that language that has not been translated into your mother tongue or cope with difficulties in a country where this language is spoken. If you learn a language to a  high-level, new job opportunities, new friendships or even new forms of love can become available to you. The same can happen if you have become an expert in your field of work after long years of hard work and disciplined effort, or if you could have maintained a great friendship or relationship for years where you have learnt a lot from each other and about each other.

In a nutshell

You can find depth in an adventure and you can discover the adventure in depth. Neither is better than the other. It is more about finding the balance between the two dimensions and getting the best of both worlds. If you have mastered the enjoyment of breadths of experiences it might be worth immersing yourself in depths—and if you are pretty good at deep involvement, it is time to broaden that horizon. 🙂

If you would like to maintain the balance between the different dimensions of your life contact me on the e-mail address below to schedule a coaching session or click on the Contact menu.

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