According to Wikipedia, farmers have been cross-pollinating plants for more than 100 years.
The purpose of cross-pollinating crops, vegetables, fruits, and flowers is to make them more resistant to disease and drought, larger, tastier, better-looking, or more interesting.
People, meanwhile, should mentally cross-pollinate.
I’ve been a professional software trainer for more than 15 years. I’ve been a Toastmaster for ten years and a writer for about two years. These are different activities that strengthen me mentally. Activities in one area strengthen my abilities in the other two.
As a software trainer and a Toastmaster, I am a leader, a speaker and an educator. As a writer, my creativity, organization and knowledge of grammar have increased whether I’m writing for work or fun. I confidently guide attendees both in the classroom and at Toastmaster meetings.
Virtually everything I learn from these experiences improves my mind and skills.
Similarly to different species of apples being cross-pollinated, there is a close relationship among all my interests. Training requires communication, leading, confidence, organization and product development. Toastmasters builds communication, leadership, confidence, organization, and development skills. Writing also incorporates virtually all of these skills.
Accountant Who Walks a Tightrope
What if your interests are more like a cherry and a plum? Can they cross-pollinate? They can. We can produce cherry plums.
Likewise, an accountant can cross-pollinate with his interest in being a tightrope walker.
While being an accountant and learning to walk a tightrope are different skills, they can provide support to each other.
An accountant must know how to balance – numbers. A tightrope walker practices physical balance. Both cases require attention to detail and a certain amount of concentration. Both activities require practice to be fully successful.
One of the great advantages of taking on diverse activities is that it gives you the ability to exercise your mind as in my case and physically as in the case of the tightrope walker. At this time, when we find ourselves minimizing social activities, having the opportunity to explore new activities is refreshing.
Another Way to Cross-Pollinate
Cross-pollinating may include reaching out to people with different ideas than your own. Even if we are at home, we still have the opportunity to pick up the phone or set up a web conference with a friend or family member in an area that is different from ours. They may be more ready than ever to discuss what they do even if you haven’t seen eye to eye in the past.
Be gentle in the process, as it may require some mental tightrope walking. Ultimately, cross-pollinate your mind to become a stronger and more interesting person.
It’s possible that you have more time to engage in both physical and mental activities. Have you wanted to be a painter? Order the materials and get started.
Set up a trampoline in your backyard if you’ve always wanted to jump around.
Play more music online, or perhaps find your old instrument (or a new one) and start practicing or composing.
Like me, you may discover that even your newest activity can expand you into someone who is more adept at what you have been doing for years.
For example, I’ve started writing for fun more recently. In practicing this I’ve learned more about passive versus active voice.
In spite of the fact that both my job and Toastmasters focus on presenting well, neither had explicitly brought voice to my attention.
Life should be an adventure. It is for Roxy Merizalde; sometimes by choice, sometimes not.
Adventures by choice: World travel for employers: Australia, Brazil (three times) Canada, Chile, Mexico, New Zealand, and South Africa; exchange student to Ecuador in South America.
Adventures not chosen: Rare salivary gland cancer; layoffs that resulted in opportunities including a job at Yellowstone National Park; and coronavirus distancing – no disease but lots of new experiences.
Roxy works for the Texas Workforce Commission as a Training Specialist. Pre-COVID-19, she traveled throughout Texas teaching staff The Workforce Information System of Texas (TWIST). Development activities include TWIST, WIT and SharePoint courses and online versions for TWIST.