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Monday, March 01, 2021


Here's a very short (less than 7 minutes) Michael Neill podcast which I listened to quite a few days ago and which has really stuck in my mind. It asked me to think about what I'm an expert at -- where is my expertise?

Developing expertise requires time and attention. So if I ask myself what I want to be expert at, I'm also asking myself what I want to spend my time and my attention on.

What is it that I'm really well-versed in? And: do I feel great about my expertise?

Or have I become an expert at making my life a mess or stressing myself out or discouraging myself?

Do I want to be an expert about my problems? About what's wrong with my life? About what's wrong with other people? About what's wrong with the world? Well then, I should keep right on devoting most of my time and attention right there.

Or has that focus just been a default pattern. . . a habit.

And would I rather spend more of my time and attention on what really interests me? Now? So I can become an expert in that?

Well then: what am I really interested in? What would I really like to be an expert in? What's worth taking an interest in and what isn't?

Michael Neill suggests we make two lists . . . over several days.

The first list is headed, "I am no longer interested in" . . . ruminating over all my old grievances from decades ago, and scaring myself. I'm not very interested in drama or permitting my mind to be consumed by those 60,000 to 100,000 random thoughts that flow through it every day.

The second list is headed, "I am more interested than ever in" . . . . feeling calm, treating myself with kindness and compassion, living in the present moment. Seeing the rare red crossbill sitting in the top of a spruce tree and really listening to its voice.

There is no rush to prepare these lists, and I haven't been in any hurry. But I've certainly been thinking about them since I first heard the podcast. The list-making is a work in progress. Yeah, me too.

But there is no huge disciplined stern efforting needed to compel myself to break that bad habit of focusing on the problems and the bad stuff and making myself stop doing that and . . . on and on and on.

I don't have to persuade myself to be interested in the new stuff. I really AM interested in the new stuff.

And as I focus my time and attention on calm and compassion, I can confidently expect to develop greater expertise: right there, where I want it. The good feelings.

So: what are you no longer interested in?

And: what are you more interested than ever in?

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I remember talking to a co-worker about being an SME ... subject matter expert.

    He felt he knew everything there was about XYZ. Really??? Nothing else in your field that would amaze and intrigue you ... how sad for you.

    I'm no longer interested in ... negative people, thoughts, actions or living.

    I am interested in learning how to ... exhale and breathe.
    41 days ago
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    42 days ago
    Great questions! I will give it some thought. Might even make 2 lists---
    43 days ago
    This is a great blog -- with lots of good ideas.
    43 days ago
    Yet another thought provoking blog!
    44 days ago
  • NANCY-
    I want to use his lists.
    Not interested in: Politics
    Interested in: Making the most of time with Hubby.
    44 days ago

    Comment edited on: 3/2/2021 9:44:37 PM
    I gave up duplicate bridge last year, it was time. Frankly, I am no longer interested in it if its to be online. I enjoyed traveling and meeting new people at tournaments, but that is history.
    I am more interested in exercising and doing things at home. I have a class every day of the week and also my qigong. A healthy mix of challenging fitness, fun fitness and body mind care. Out with the old, in with the new to be sure.
    45 days ago
    Hmmm - I will need to think about this!
    45 days ago
    Thanks for this link. I will listen to it. Might be just what I need right now.
    45 days ago
    No time to listen to this now, will do tomorrow...
    45 days ago
    No longer interested in thinking about the past

    More interested than ever in being kind and interested in other people even strangers so they feel some one 'sees' them and really cares :) ... it is my joy and giving away knitted projects to friends and strangers :)
    45 days ago
    AH AH AH!!! Must give a listen and I might learn something. emoticon
    45 days ago
    Being a concrete thinker I immediately wrote several areas of expertise that I want to continue and develop and those that I am no longer interested in pursuing.

    Then I listened to the podcast and his emphasis on the more abstract
    Does he consider being an expert on the problems around me as my being an expert on negativity, because it disturbs my calm state of mind? Yet, I want someone to be an expert in finding solutions.
    A very calm person I know always dismissed problems with "God will provide" but as my Dad used to say "God provided us" So, as others have said, more thought required.

    As always, a thought provoking blog.
    45 days ago
    An interesting approach. A gentle form of self-care.

    45 days ago
    Interesting, definitely food for thought!
    45 days ago
    Interesting what immediately came to mind when I asked the questions of myself ...

    So: what are you no longer interested in? life

    And: what are you more interested than ever in? death

    We shall see if those interests shift over time. Have to honor death as a natural part of life. And, wondering if the acceptance of death and the willingness to look at it will actaully leave me more fully engaged in life as I step ever closer to an inevitable death.

    I don't listen to Michael Neill's podcasts regularly; but, I do pop in to check them out from time-to-time as I'm moved to do so.

    45 days ago
    No longer interested in? - learning more about how to be a great fundraiser. Oddly I still get the emails and I reupped my membership (albeit as a retiree) but never read the articles and only participate in the chapter (via Zoom only) to see the people (who are mostly now people I do not know).

    Interested in more? - where do I start...
    45 days ago
    Looks like I have some chewing to do, on this "food for thought"!
    45 days ago
    Sounds very Zen to me. (smiling)
    45 days ago
  • BJAEGER307
    Definitely something to think about. I don't think I've ever questioned myself on those lines. So thank you for poking the curiosity button for me.

    Enjoy your day!
    45 days ago
    Thank you so much for this link. Listening . . . and probably listening again!

    45 days ago
    I have am interested in becoming fully the person I am intended to be: devoted wife, mother, grandmother with good health and enough wisdom to do the right thing for myself, family, neighbors and more.
    45 days ago
    Great blog -- intentional living.
    Lots to think about, and thanks for the link!
    45 days ago
    45 days ago
    Oh man - I just snapped on to that idea - what am I an expert at - and what do I want to be an expert at. And I was so curious about what you wanted to be an expert at. LOL - I even like the grammatical phrase, with the dangling preposition - expert at. It just tickled me.

    I guess because there are so many things you can give your 10,000 hours to. Might not always be time to get to the 10K hour place - but gosh - there really is so much to chose from. INCLUDING to stop ruminating. To stop telling ugly stories about - me, the past, that person, how stupidly I behaved. Yeah. I recognize those too.

    But then - what about an expert at being Henry's person. or an expert at soup cooking. or an expert at happy marriage building.

    And now you are retired you have so much more time to be an expert at the things you put off when you didn't have time. I always thought I was a pretty good cook, but now I am making meals with zero time pressure on me - I'm an even better cook.

    Gosh - that sounds like such a fun exercise to do - list your expertise
    45 days ago
    Downloading and listening now. Great so far. Thanks
    45 days ago
    Helps to gain perspective
    45 days ago
  • DESIREE672
    I love this blog. I just listened to an interview of Tammy Peterson by her daughter on her podcast. I’m interested in the last part of it - interested in helping or being of use to close family and friends - the most necessary and rewarding thing to be interested in right now.
    45 days ago
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