Starting From Scratch: Learn All the Things, All the Time, Everywhere, Everyday


Emmitt 1  Emmitt Dei Richards
Starting from scratch is two equal parts of anxiety and excitement, depending on the situation and what kind of person you are.

Starting over at a new high paying job in a position that suits your attributes perfectly may make you nervous but it is also exciting; inversely, finding out you have lost your job with no prospects in sight in the future can dramatically change that experience to a freighting one. There is a third situation where people try to actively seek out new experiences willingly just for the excitement of it. These people are typically considered thrill seekers who just can’t get enough of pushing the limits of their bodies, minds and their loved ones nerves.

In some instances the people who seek new experiences aren’t out to conquer the world performing dangerous acts, but may show up as multiple carriers or hobbies. I fall into the latter category.

I love finding out new things, but at the same time I am not comfortable in new social situations, so I typically do my dirt all on my lonely. This is where the awesomeness of the internet shines through, for better or worse. It allows us to teach ourselves everything whilst consuming us with everything.

Before the interwebs got big I intensely started a music CD collection from scratch; I spent 200 dollars buying all the rap albums I could find that interested me with my first ever pay check. Without being able to listen to these CD’s first I had to go on word of mouth and MTV/BET music videos to find out who was good at the time. This kept me searching small chain music stores like a crazy person until I compiled 300 compact discs, neatly organized in black cases that resembled suitcases.  I have been absolutely consumed with this idea that started from scratch ’til this day, always looking for new music no matter what the genre. (My current goal is 10,000 songs.)

A few years later, during college, I started collecting watches after receiving one as a gift. I took this obsession all the way to procuring 20 watches or so over time, and contemplated studying horology (the study of time pieces).

A couple of years after that I started liking heavy metal, which turned into another obsession, after not knowing anything about the genre at all. At this juncture, the internet allowed me to go into full research mode. I stayed up until 2 to 3 in the morning most nights researching videos, artists, genres, documentaries etc… I love the newness of music. This eventually spilled over to my current obsession: “Audiophile”. Trying to find the best possible way to listen to the different genres of music I love by buying headphones and other equipment that enhance my listening experience.

I recently started drinking coffee, and now I  have to know everything about it instead of just buying and sipping it like everyone else. A coffee guide is in order soon. I am also obsessed with burgers and would like to taste every good burger place in the city of Chicago. Last year I drank a root beer and then ended up trying 20+ different varieties. I had to stop because I was getting fat. This year, it’s gourmet mac and cheese, and hand drums.

In all these instances I have tried to take a new experience from scratch and play catch-up over a short period of time, then switch to obsessing over something else once I feel adequate about what I’ve learned.  I guess to people reading this it may sound like “master of none” type stuff. And I guess they would be right in some respects, but I sure did have a good time diving deeper into all of this stuff.

Just now, at 30 years old, I think I have figured out how to channel this strong sense of curiosity in “one” thing that allows for “a lot of things” for career purposes.

I just follow where the excitement is until it is no longer exciting.


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