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Cultivation Share This on LinkedIn   Tweet This   Forward This

21 June 2022

The concept of cultivation seems under appreciated. The idea that you can develop a skill by practicing it, for example. Sure Malcolm Gladwell's target of 10,000 hours of practice to master anything made a splash a while ago. But the ripples have settled back down by now.

Cultivation. Nikon D300 with 18-200mm Nikkor at 26mm (39mm equivalent), f8, 1/250 second, ISO 200. Processed in Adobe Camera Raw.

Cultivation itself is the process of growing something. Admittedly no fruit will be borne in the early stages. But if a good root structure isn't established none ever will be.

So with the smartphone. Every two years or so, you upgrade to a better phone with a more clever camera. The technology is cultivated. But you? Not so much.

Cultivation run wild?

Same with a camera system. You can switch brands or formats but have you grown as a visual artist? As a competent practitioner. Not so much.

That's not what we were thinking as we walked by this scene, though. Mostly, we found it amusing.

There was a dilapidated building with its electrical service reaching up into its rusting but galvanized conduit gradually being overtaken by a privet that was escaping the yard. The privet, in fact, seemed to be attacking the electrical service.

Cultivation run wild?

Well, no. It's the absence of cultivation, really. Cultivation isn't merely growth. It isn't merely 10,000 cumulative hours.

It requires maintenance. Pruning. Clipping away the false leads, the branches that are suckers, the wrong turns.

Because if you don't, as this image shows, your energy is at stake. You go off the reservation, following tangents, dissipating your strength on something that returns no value.

Cultivate your skills, certainly. But don't neglect to do the maintenance.

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