6 days ago for day 180, 2020 with 532 words.

Long Term Excitement

I used to be an up and down bouncy ball of excitement. I'd get all worked up over possibilities and indulge in days of brainstorming. Whenever I had a new topic, it was all I could talk about for a couple of days straight. Sometimes, I'd get the people around me excited too.

Then I'd dive in with extremely high energy until I'd hit the first snag. That little snag would usually make me drop off the hype train entirely, and I'd end up with nothing done. Soon after, I'd get excited over the next thing, and the whole train would start all over again. It was exhausting. And disappointing. Especially for the people around me who had gotten excited with me.

I also used to believe I was a "scanner personality". You know, one of those multi-talented, multi-interested, multi-non-focussed people. I think they exist; after all, I can be interested in practically everything. It's just that that's no excuse for lack of follow-through. In essence, I self-diagnosed commitment issues with "scanner personality" because that sounded way better and meant that I didn't have to figure out priorities.

I do believe those scanner personalities are a thing, by the way. But I also think that they are a thing you sometimes have to ignore in yourself. The concept can help explain your personality type, as in "you have an inclination to get interested in a lot of things, possibly at once". After that diagnosis, though, you're still left with 24 hours a day and the realities of how things get done. You can't do more than one thing at a time, and switching between things too much does not help make progress.

It used to be hard for me to focus and settle into one thing. Perhaps, I just hadn't gotten the vision right yet or found "my thing" yet. I think that played a bit of a role there. If you can't decide between all the options, maybe there's just not a single one that stands out enough? Of course, you only find out by trying things.

In the end, I tricked myself into commitment by adding a seasonal element to my pursuits. "I am going to pretend this is my only choice for two months and see where it gets me" helped me get over a lot of distractions. Because once I am at it for some time, the focus becomes more natural. The sunk cost fallacy eventually kicks in and works in your favour for once.

These days, I still get super excited about short-term things, but I am also aware that I have long-term excitements going on. I maintain this excitement by visualising how I will feel and what I will do when I have spent five years pursuing the thing. I think about what it will be like when I have written for five years or worked on my maths degree for five years. Or meditation. Or yoga. The vision of how much stronger, smarter, and more able I will be is exciting enough to get me to get up and do my yoga even though I am well-settled on the couch!


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By Fiene

Trying to make this writing thing stick. Medium: https://medium.com/@letterwings Twitter: @Fiene_P

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