Interest Deficit Disorder

Personal finance

There’s an issue that seems to inflict every man in my family (although in a Simpons-type twist, the women are spared)–my term for it is interest deficit disorder.  You see, we can’t be satisfied with just one hobby or interest.  Instead, we must collect them throughout our lives.  Maybe our hobby is the collection of hobbies?  But the problem with this “Renaissance Man” existence is that we never truly excel at everything.

Sure, we can play a half-decent guitar, set-up the average tropical aquarium, and play a solid if unspectacular round of golf, but at the end of the day what does this all add up to besides a way to kill time?

Most true geniuses spend their entire lives fixated on one field, or even one detail.  Meanwhile, I’m writing half-written novels and hand-crafting barely respectable home-made beer.  What gives?

Unfortunately, the tunnel-vision, pick one thing and become great at it point of view also has its critics.  Some argue that a wide variety of pursuits is normal, valuable, and a better endeavor than one singular purpose.  They argue the old saying, that variety is the spice of life.  This all becomes very frustrating and confusing.

So what I decided to do is test out sticking to one focus v. my usual scatterbrained approach to the world.  I focused for one month entirely upon my business.  Here is what I noticed from my little personal test:

  •  In the beginning, I was on a “new self improvement” high just based upon pouring 100% of myself into something.  It became novel, sort of like starting a new interest.
  • Therefore, in the beginning the results were beyond my wildest expectations.  I was either working, reading to improve my skills in my field, or trying to find new clients literally 90% of my waking hours.
  • But then, after two weeks I started to feel an overwhelming tiredness.  I missed blogging, and working on my novel, and going jogging.
  • Productivity began to decline.   I would begin to spend all my time doing one thing, but in all reality my head would be in a fog and my concentration would be poor.
The following month, I went back to my normal disparate ways.   Here is my takeaway from that experience:
  • I’m making more progress than I was in the past two weeks with my business, but not as much as I did the first month.
  • I am enjoying my multitude of experiences more than ever.
  • People did notice that I wasn’t myself the month before.
Perhaps we are all wired a certain way.  Some of us are hard-wired to prefer multiple interests, and others are given to a dogged determination to pursue one dream, task, or goal.  We are capable of mixing it up for a while, but ultimately nature can’t be fooled.
What do you think?  Is it better to be focused on one thing or to be a “Renaissance” man or woman?  How are you wired?


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Interest Deficit Disorder | Experiments in Finance