Robert Whiting In search of awesome

Thought stream 20170322


Most people I meet have one or two things that they’re realy excited about. At the very least, they pick one or two things and run with them for most of their lives. Stories pepper history of individuals who pick one single cause and stake their whole lives on mastering that skill, solving that problem, or achieving that goal.

Are the stories retold to oversimplify reality, or do people actually focus so narrowly on a single objective for decades?

Recently, I’ve likened my hobby experimentation to the game jenga. There are no rules stipulating that the player has to commit to a single piece, so I press on many before half committing to one. If it has too much resistance part way through, I take a mental note and try another. Maybe I’ll come back, maybe not. Most people I play with try a couple and commit to the first block that starts out easy–even if it puts the whole tower in jeopardy. And in my view, at no benefit.

Currently, I’m testing resistance against a new coffee track, a men’s group, a software startup, winemaking, and learning Japanese. Not to mention blocks I’ve considered or pressed without finding any give.

I continually feel the pressure to commit to one hobby for the long haul. I have a solid career, do I need a “solid” side project? For a few years, I tell people that I collect hobbies, does that count or is it just childish? When I dream of building for a Mars colony, do I need to justify it to myself as valuable, or can I simply dream and come up with project ideas–leaving the questions until the commitment grows beyond mindshare?

What about virtual reality worlds? Drone racing? Battery tech? Recently I “narrowed” my hobbies to 3 fields. Did that focus me or stunt me? Too soon to tell? I still love the idea of building robotics, is it a bad idea to rule it out forever?

No, I can’t rule these things out permanently. But I have to temporarily at least or I’ll bog down. If I kill the creative spirit with these rules and bounds, it will atrophy.