Temporary Obsessions

Life in short bursts of excitement #

My life can essentially be reduced to a series of temporary obsessions.

Some last for hours such as a new study in cognitive neuroscience I just learned about from a TED talk. Others may last for years, like web development and photography. But that’s really all that they are, obsessions. Nothing more, nothing less.

hob·by — An activity done regularly in one’s leisure time for pleasure.

Regularly is too consistent for me. I enjoy reading, especially metaphysics and crime thrillers, but I don’t do it regularly. Even if I could make some time to read everyday, which I probably can, I wouldn’t. Why? Because I would probably be obsessing over some Wikipedia article or GitHub project.

If I pick up a book, I will only continue reading it regularly if I am obsessed with it, and I could be switched off from one obsession to another.

I have not been diagnosed with ADD, and even if I have, I’d call bullshit. I have no trouble paying close attention to detail, I listen when spoken to directly, I have no trouble organizing activities (some of which involve a dozen other people to cooperate), and I do not get easily distracted. In fact, when I am obsessed with something, I am very hard to distract.

I have a hard time finishing things and an easy time picking up new things. Breadth over depth. New over mature.

I’m not exactly sure why I find it difficult to complete tasks and fully explore interests that I indulge in. It’s almost as if once I understand something it immediately loses a major portion of its appeal. I don’t necessarily have to understand all or even most of it, just a reasonable bit that I can grasp and make sense of. A short burst of excitement, a satisfactory chunk of cognition.

In all fairness, life is extremely short in comparison to how long it would take an individual to learn just a small fraction of common knowledge. This is not to say it’s not worth finishing things and mastering one’s hobbies and interests. Some of the greatest breakthroughs mankind shares are products of persistence and perspiration, seeing things through til’ the very end, and then pushing the boundaries further.

And yet, there is something truly gratifying in having the freedom to jump around and pick up something new every day.

Jack of all trades, master of none.

I prefer that to a master of one.

 
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