Saturday, 3 May 2014


I got asked a really interesting question recently, and it was about expertise, what am I expert in?


There are a few things I know quite a lot about, but I tend to spread myself too thin, and become partially expert at many things and master of none. I'm actually OK with that, it keeps things interesting. I really don't need to be The Great Expert in anything.

I'm more about passions. Things I enjoy, and become partially expert in from a place of enthusiasm.

So, I started a list in my head of things I love to do, and that I'm quite good at, and it was easy to create a list, but then I noticed that there were really just two categories.

For example I like cooking, I like gardening, I like knitting, I like writing, etc, etc and what are all these things? Creative things. I like being creative. That is a passion, a drive, and I consider myself a creative person. That's a very right-brained thing.

But I also like puzzles. All sorts of puzzles. From crosswords and jigsaws to genealogy, and history itself, which is a puzzle until you put all the pieces together. And people. People are huge puzzles. And that's all left-brained stuff.

Which makes sense really, because when I do those brain dominance things, I tend to get 50-50 right and left.

In fact if you consider all the things I'm keen on, you'll find that most of them involve puzzles or creativity, or both. Or, to look at it another way, if it involves neither, chances are I'm not terribly interested.

I can find no enthusiasm for sport, for example. I can't see any point in it. Maybe somebody can single out the area of passion that falls into. Possibly more than one, as I imagine playing it comes under a different category than watching it. Anyway, I think it's at least a third category, but somebody else will have to figure that one out for me.

Fortunately, many things in life involve creativity or puzzles in some way or another, so I find lots of things interesting. And if I'm interested, I learn. If I'm passionate, I learn more.

Don't we have the basis of how to educate here? People are always talking about engaging students. If you can get their attention by making it more interesting to them, there's more chance of information sinking in.

An example I remember in my own life were children's jigsaw puzzles of maps. There were a whole series of these. They included the names of major cities as separate pieces, the image itself showed regional features such as mountain ranges, landmarks, local agriculture etc, and by the time you finished the puzzle you had memorized many aspects of the country, far faster, and far better that if you'd been shown a map and simple guide. After doing the puzzle a few times it was pretty much cemented in and to this day I cannot forget which way round Kattegat and Skaggerak go, from the two plain blue bits either side of Denmark.

So, this is not a terribly long or deep post, just a braindump, and I rather hope it will simply lead to your own thoughts on your passions, and this whole idea of categories. Feel free to dive in here or at Facebook, or both. Conversation tends to fizzle out here.


  1. I love puzzles too. To me, science is the ultimate puzzle.

    1. It is isn't it? Best part, you never finish it, there's always more to figure out.

  2. Smile. I have been brewing a post on being a dabbler. There are several enterprises I might have been successful at, but indeed, I am spread too thin. No regrets, overall I am pleased with my life.