Monday’s Meditation: On Dabbling Vs. Focus
Dabbling has become the thing to do.
Around me, people are flitting from this to that, seemingly never content to stay still for long. Always, there is the allure of something newer, better, shinier, and full of the potential to revolutionize their lives.
It is as if the attention spans that began waning thanks to the internet has jumped off of the screen and morphed into real life.
People alight onto one expert’s guidance and then, before they’ve even sufficiently absorbed the advice being given, they’re on to the next. Dr. Andrew Weil to Dr. Oz to Goop to a New York Times reporter–
They flit from interest to interest; with each one they excite in having a reason to purchase all the necessary supplies, but rarely do they truly invest their spirits.
They jump from exercise to exercise, sampling various fitness methods without ever sticking to one long enough to see progress.
Yes, dabbling is the thing to do, it seems.
Only, dabbling is quite like dining on a perpetual tasting menu. A flight of life. Of fashion. Of fitness. Of health. Of design. Of parenting. A smorgasbord of one-bite samples that never could nor does leave one feeling full.
No matter how palatable or intriguing each small taste may be, do you ever end up feeling satiated? Do you ever even know how much you’ve had to eat? Can you ever see the cumulative, long-term result of pursuing mastery in a very select number of areas? Do you ever feel more focused, have more clarity, and feel more at peace? Or is your brain merely more cluttered with information that intersects at some points and directly conflicts in others, your mind an overloaded, empty stomach rumbling with two hundred single-bites.
There is no denying that dabbling may, on the surface, seem shinier than focus, consistency, and simplicity. It may bring more company, too; there is never a shortage of people who are content to dabble relentlessly with you.
But after you have sampled from the majestic menu from which we all order, after you have taken peckish bite after peckish bite, too afraid to truly indulge, too reluctant to commit for fear of what delicacy may be served next, and realized you are still starving, then you see: focus, not scattered concentration, is sexy. Consistency, not fickleness, is monumental. Clarity, not an infinite stream of information, is liberating.
The moment you accept that you never can or will sample every available option, and that in your unrequited search for “it,” you can waste a lifetime having made no trackable gains, you are free to choose resolutely: One appetizer, one main course, one dessert. No regrets.
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