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Deep Dive

Michael Mityok

  • UBC: BA in Literature and Education
  • 25+ years of teaching experience
  • 10+ years of university counselor/pathway

During COVID I have rediscovered something I used to do when I was kid naturally – I started reading and writing again!

There are thousands of YouTube videos with talking heads sharing motivating stories to spark inspiration in people who feel their lives under COVID are empty of purpose. But the problems with these self-help videos, like the “30-day plan” ones in which you focus on four main areas in your life, identifying for each one habit to “amplify” and one behavior to “reduce”, are that they are simplistically prescriptive and end up limiting the opportunity to explore/learn.

A “deep” life cannot be fully reduced to a system – but still can help you understand this goal better than fleeting moments of inspiration. This idea of systemic practice is familiar in religious practices. Many religions believe that although the concept of God cannot fully be understood by the human mind, certain ritual practices, such as daily prayers, can spark intimations of the divine.

When I was a kid, reading and writing was a ritual I did every day until I was about 18, which I stopped when I started working and studying. I got “busy”. Worse, eventually through my phone I got into spending time on social media like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube etc. Time wasted as a mainly passive consumer of information and entertainment. 

When I started reading and writing again last year, I reconnected with the feeling I had as a kid, where every day there was sense of exploration, discovery, and invention. The ritual of daily reading and writing opened new learning – I read a book on blockchain technology and am now a crypto investor – and new accomplishments in the form of a screenplay about my younger brother’s true-life adventures as an ESL teacher in Central America.

The message is simple – forget about reading and writing if that is not what you used to do to learn/explore, just do the thing(s) that you did as a kid or teenager that made room in your life to go deep and create new possibilities for yourself.