The illusion of a single focus… at least for me

The illusion of a single focus… at least for me

Yesterday, I started this whole new blog of mine with the question of dreamers vs reckless fools. It really wasn’t where I intended that article to go. In fact, the article I’m writing right now is really the one I wanted to write. At least, I think so… unless something forces this one off the rails, too.

In fact, let’s start again with yesterday’s intro and see where we go next… In so many articles on so many pages, in so many places… you’re told to find your passion. To discover that one thing that really makes you tick. The raison d’être that will get you up in the morning. And that advice… well, it sounds good, doesn’t it. It fits into all the neat little places of the American psyche about hard work and bravery.

If it’s so ingrained into our collective American consciousness… why do so many of us suck at it so badly? Inspirational stories of dreamers successfully forging a path to their dreams are inspirational because most of us don’t do this. If everyone succeeded at everything they set out to do, these stories would have to be far more imaginative because we’d think, “So what? I’ve done that like 5 times already.” Why are we so bad at this? I think it’s because we’ve built up that concept of “passion” to somehow mean that it must be some sort of earth-shattering moment of clarity or that the idea at least has the potential to change or define the world that we live in.

You see, I’ve always hated this advice of “follow your dream.” While it resonates with me as strongly as it resonates with you – I always hated it because I’ve never had a passion. Not a real one. I’ve never really had a ballsy, in your face, gotta have it tomorrow kind of dream. That has always bothered me. So much so, that I’ve gone through fits and starts of determining my Meyers-Briggs type (INTP), taking profiles to get my ideal job, giving up and just forgetting about trying anything new, halfheartedly doing whatever comes to mind with no real focus, etc. etc. ad nauseum.

I’ve had enthusiastic moments in my life where I wanted to become a fighter pilot (bad eyes), or a rock star (too much work with no guarantee of success), or a top notch graphic designer (not really a very good artist), or a write (it takes a lot for me to sit down and actually write). But, honestly, those have always been just something that seems cool… they never really qualified as a true passion as far as I could tell. I didn’t sit up at night playing flight sims because I wanted to perfect some aspect of flying, or couldn’t put my guitar down because I was determined to get this one riff just right, or have a specific design idea in my head and work for hours and hours to perfect it because I just lived, ate, and breathed these things. Nothing does this to me. Nothing.

The truth is… I’m interested in far too many things to have a single passion. To truly pursue a passion, you have to give it your all… this is what it means to follow a dream. But, I’ve discovered that if I did that… I would immediately lose interest because it would mean I’d have to ignore these hundred other things that interest me. My interests have always varied and while I can pursue something with a specific intensity for a certain period, I will invariably lose interest and move onto something else later.

Now, couple this lack of passion with the 10,000 hour rule and you end up with a very disheartened, somewhat manic, individual. (If you’re unfamiliar with the 10,000 hour rule – Google that and you’ll see tons of information on it.) I was never going to spend 10,000 hours doing anything. I don’t even like video games enough to spend that kind of time. So, a while back, I decided I needed to work on becoming content with mediocrity. Or, in the words of the immortal Wesley, I needed to “get used to disappointment.” Well, this just ended up depressing me. I would never get used to disappointment, so I knew this was the wrong answer.

So, I’ve made a decision. I’m going to slowly pursue everything and see what sticks. Crazy? Probably. But, I’m planning to approach it methodically… let’s see where we end up. I have decided that I will use this blog as a platform to discuss and show the progress of my many varied interests and time will tell if I’m a dreamer or a reckless fool, but I am deciding to jump into each of these whole hog with everything I’ve got and move between each of them to see what sticks. I’ll be using my category tags to break down each post based on the interest that it fits. Look at those if you want to follow along and see what happens. Or don’t. This will simply be my record of what I’m trying now.