My graduate work is specific to human development and my personal interest is specific to what helps people thrive. I’ve long been drawn to the work of developmental psychologist James Marcia who provided me (and others) a deeper view of Erik Erikson’s theory of human development specific to adolescents.
Marcia defines achievement as taking place when people are allowed to explore a variety of options before committing to something. When you commit to something after a period of exploration, you are more likely to be dedicated to it. And from that, according to Marcia, is how lasting achievement is reached.
Another thing that has long interested me is poetry. Way back in the early 1980’s, before I started college, I worked with a songwriting partner. I wrote the words and he wrote the melodies (one such song can be heard here). Not all of the words I was writing fit the simple pop song structure we liked, but that didn’t stop me from writing them. As I moved into college and beyond, I started experimenting with different poetry styles to offer me structure.
One that has stuck with me is haiku. A haiku is fairly simple in structure — 3 lines, the first and last having 5 syllables and the middle having 7 — but can be hard to write. Part of what appeals to me about haiku is that the process requires you to simplify your thinking. You only have 17 syllables to get across an idea.
Included in the illustration above is a haiku I wrote to simplify my understanding of Marcia’s concept of achievement.