Someone once told me I have a butterfly brain.
He said I sit on an idea, a task, an activity for a small amount of time and then flit off to the next bright flower.
At the time he was a news editor and I was the chief reporter on a local newspaper. He taught me a lot about managing people – both how to manage and how NOT to manage.
He fired me once, yelling from a third floor window to me in the car park below. Half the town heard me get fired.
The following day I ran in to him at a social event and it took me an hour to pluck up enough courage to ask him whether I still had a job. He had no recollection of the previous afternoon because he had been drunk.
But despite that, he was still an amazing person to work for and he taught me a lot about people.
The reason I thought of him was because I had an email from Amazon yesterday asking if I wanted to trade in my Complete Russian course.
And I thought … do I really need to learn Russian? I have, over the years, bought several teach-yourself languages courses. I have them in Russian, Arabic, Italian, Spanish, French, German, Norwegian (I might keep that one). I have course books in Luxembourgish, Cornish and many more … I even have a Klingon dictionary.
I have the first Harry Potter book in 13 different languages, including Welsh, Latin and ancient Greek! For goodness sake, what is wrong with me?
Do I speak any of these languages? No, of course I don’t.
I have studied the first chapter of most of them. I speak reasonable French (I lived in France for a while) and basic German and Norwegian but other than that I can say about four words in about 14 different languages. That’s not much use to anyone.
I have a friend who was a gymnast – she competed at the Sydney Olympics. She once told me you needed to learn one ridiculous phrase in as many languages as possible and that would serve as an icebreaker and be all you need.
Hers was ‘I love you, will you peel my orange’.
But she was in her early 20s, bubbly, tiny and unbelievably cute. I can see that working for her when it wouldn’t for most people.
Anyway, I’m pretty sure I am not going to learn Russian, or Japanese, or Samoan, or Klingon, so yes Mr Amazon, I might as well trade my books in and get something useful that might help me create a new career for myself.
And, if Man and I are going to be successful at carving out a living and being our own bosses, I really need to control that butterfly brain of mine and start concentrating on something for more than 30 seconds at a time.