Last week we celebrated the jewish festival of Shavuot where the custom is to learn ancient jewish text through the night (tikkun leil). For the last many years I usually flake out around 2.am and feel to soft to push harder out of fear of the grump I am likely to be around the family the next day.
This year was different I was on fire, my concentration was razor sharp and I felt light and engaged throughout the long night and due to the winter in the southern hemisphere we could only begin the morning service around sunrise 6:15am. In short (actually it was quite long) it was a great night.
Over the last week I have also rekindled my interest in learning a programming language. I have had many failed starts with C# but have a fairly decent beginners knowledge in R. I am not sure exactly where this interest has come from but I want to learn a more general purpose language that will be strong in the quant space but equally strong in web and other programming tasks. I have decided on Python an excellent open source language that all who use it say its syntax is the most intuitive of the languages and its power is awesome.
There is a reason why I juxtapose this latest interest with my “tikkun leil” evening over Shavuot. The human mind is so incredibly powerful that it is able to overcome (push aside) many physical necessities, at least for a period of time. I have become so engrossed with my Python learning curve that I have hardly slept the last week or so. I am so enthused and keen to learn, that sleep is not something that is coming into the equation too often.
So what is my point? It is really simple, when you are focused and inspired many needs (often superfluous needs) that may seem insatiable when your mind has spare capacity tend to not get the energy to have the same negative influence over your life. Of course there is the risk of becoming too one sided and losing your equilibrium, but the point I am making is that having an interest, a passion, a goal is so important in life as it serves to keep the minds “spare capacity” occupied and less likely to get up to mischief.