Wanted to tackle something a little more complex in this post today.
I’ve felt this way for a long time, years in fact. I don’t know where to begin with it, nor really sure exactly how to describe it so that it’s understandable.
Lack Of Focus
I guess the problem is lack of focus, or dabbling. I’m good at the things I do. I’m a very passionate person and if it’s something I’m interested in, I put in massive amounts of effort and achieve a lot of success.
However, I feel so often I can achieve more success, but I don’t.
So I think sometimes I’m a dabbler because I’ll be passionately interested in something for a while, but then it’ll burn out and something else will take over for a while. It seems like I can never be passionately interested in more than one thing at any one time.
Anyone else experienced this?
And I don’t mean I just give up on something.
Coming Back To Your Passions After Some Time
I’ll nearly always come back to it when the thing that replaced it burns out too. It’s almost like my passions are on rotation and they can’t co-exist.
And I hate that.
For instance, I’ll be really into filmmaking for a while. I’ll be watching huge amounts of films, working on various projects (writing, shooting stuff, etc) and this stuff will occupy my thoughts.
I’ll be totally into it and passionately focused with tonnes of ideas all the time.
Then maybe my passion for filmmaking might fade slightly, and sport (any number of sports) will come into the forefront of my passions.
Then maybe I’ll be focused on a business idea and go insanely focused on that for a time.
I can’t ever focus on more than one thing passionately for a long period without something else taking over.
So Many Ideas
I have so many ideas and so many things I want to do! I just feel I lack focus at times…for prolonged periods. Periods of time in which I could really get something done properly!
But I don’t mean I’m a dabbler in the strongest sense of the word. As I say, I nearly always come back to the stuff I briefly lose passion for. I’m not the kind of guy who buys all the gear for a new sport, then gives up on it outright after a few months, for instance.
I achieved a first dan black belt in karate when I was 10 years old, for example. I started when I was 6 years old, worked my ass off and never gave up. I had other things in my life, but I managed to juggle them at that point in time.
It was only after I reached what was the pinnacle at that point and a few years later did I quit. The rules of the federation stated that I had to wait until I was 16 before I could go for my second dan black belt. So at such a young age, I eventually moved on as other things came up in my life.
It was one of the worst decisions I’ve ever made.
Anyway, I’m off on a tangent; that was just an example to show that I’m not just a guy who quits things after a few months.
Working On My Focus
What I really want to work on is my focus. I’ll start a screenplay, have so many ideas and be really into the project. But then a few days or weeks later, I’ll burn out.
It’s not exactly writer’s block – I just burn out and find something else to get involved in and spend my time doing. I have so many great ideas, but I rarely follow these ideas through to completion.
Like I say, I’ve enjoyed many successes so far (and I’m grateful for every one of them), but what I want to get (or learn?) is how to focus better and follow through on everything.
It’s not that I drop things (or goals) because I can’t complete them. I too often just find something else to focus my attention on. This isn’t true of everything, of course, but even if it’s just one thing that I give up on, that’s too much in my book.
A Path To Mastery At Something
This has been brought to the forefront of my thinking again recently, because I’ve been reading George Leonard’s excellent book Mastery. He talks about the need for an understanding that every journey will be a slow and arduous one, full of peaks and plateaus (but mostly your time will be spent on a plateau).
Maybe I’ve been too influenced by the mass consumerist, the get-everything-now society we live in and I just lack patience. However, I’ve never really fitted into that crazy “consumerism or nothing” thing, so I don’t think it’s that.
I understand the playing field changes as we progress in our different journeys and, thus, our goals change, but I guess I’m working on how to better focus and avoid going from one passion to the other like this.
It feels good to really get this off my chest. Any thoughts? Comments? Anyone been in a similar situation? How did you overcome these challenges? Feel free to use comments to add to this discussion!