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Old August 13 2010, 11:00 AM   #1
J. Allen
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What do you do...

When you have too many interests?

I've been browsing through my old high school yearbook, and finding my old classmates on Facebook. As I find them and add them, I'm seeing how updated their lives have become, and I remembered in high school that it was figured by many of the people I knew that by this time in my life, I'd be a very successful person. Obviously, this hasn't happened, and there are a myriad number of reasons for it.

While I won't get into the rest of those, I will say that one of them is that I am interested in nearly everything. I have so many interests, that I can't focus on one of them and pursue it. I speak on not only a career level, but on a personal one. There's just too much I can do.

Is there anyone here who has so many interests but has successfully pursued one of them and made a stable career of it? How did you manage to focus? How did you discipline yourself to take one path and make it work?

This is open to everyone, I would like your answers, methods, whatever worked for you.
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Old August 13 2010, 03:34 PM   #2
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Re: What do you do...

I'm not the best person for sharing experiences, because I've jumped around a lot and I think I'll always be a bit fickle in all areas of life.

That being said, you can't do everything. If you're talking about a career, you need to find something you enjoy but also something you're good at and that makes for a viable living. You'll have to sacrifice some of your interests to do so. Working as a wedding planner was awesome because it allowed me to utilize so many of my abilities that wouldn't be touched on in many other fields. Now that I'm back in school and getting more into research, I've realized that I missed science, and using my mind in certain ways.

I try to find a balance between everything and apply it towards something productive. I have a lot of creative interests, so I try to channel those into cooking, or I often offer to help out when someone needs something decorated or whatever. If you're interested in some sort of athletic endeavour or the outdoors, channel it into a good fitness routine.

Like I said, I'm fickle and I'm always a bit terrified that I'm going to change my mind at any given point. But I'm really digging psychology and I think it's going to work because it's challenging, and it's about people. Those are two important things to me. Figure out what's important to you and seek a career related to it, but realize that you won't always be able to satisfy all your interests.
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Old August 13 2010, 04:04 PM   #3
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Re: What do you do...

I agree with Kestra, you will have to leave behind some of your interests to pursue any given thing.

Narrow it down. If one of those many interests is something that will be big sometime soon, go for it. And look at a couple of things first. What do you enjoy doing? What are you good at? What do people like and dislike? Can you go in a certain direction with the least amount of dislikes?

I've gotten down to writing and web designing, and I'm doing both for a little while. Try two of your favorite interests as non-professional (is amateur the right word?), and have friends and family look over them. Then, whatever you are best at, go for it!
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Old August 13 2010, 04:22 PM   #4
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Re: What do you do...

I still do many things. Right now I am pursuing IT professionally, but I still play music (I'm in a band), draw, get involved in politics and write. I like to keep my options open and develop all of my skills so that when opportunity knocks, I can switch it up.
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Old August 13 2010, 07:19 PM   #5
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Re: What do you do...

Kestra wrote: View Post
I'm not the best person for sharing experiences, because I've jumped around a lot and I think I'll always be a bit fickle in all areas of life.

That being said, you can't do everything. If you're talking about a career, you need to find something you enjoy but also something you're good at and that makes for a viable living. You'll have to sacrifice some of your interests to do so. Working as a wedding planner was awesome because it allowed me to utilize so many of my abilities that wouldn't be touched on in many other fields. Now that I'm back in school and getting more into research, I've realized that I missed science, and using my mind in certain ways.

I try to find a balance between everything and apply it towards something productive. I have a lot of creative interests, so I try to channel those into cooking, or I often offer to help out when someone needs something decorated or whatever. If you're interested in some sort of athletic endeavour or the outdoors, channel it into a good fitness routine.

Like I said, I'm fickle and I'm always a bit terrified that I'm going to change my mind at any given point. But I'm really digging psychology and I think it's going to work because it's challenging, and it's about people. Those are two important things to me. Figure out what's important to you and seek a career related to it, but realize that you won't always be able to satisfy all your interests.
Reasonable and sensible as always, and I can relate to such a fickle nature. It's why I find it so hard to focus. I know I can do and enjoy many things, it's nailing it down to one. Thanks for the advice, Kestra.

Windoze 95 wrote: View Post
I agree with Kestra, you will have to leave behind some of your interests to pursue any given thing.

Narrow it down. If one of those many interests is something that will be big sometime soon, go for it. And look at a couple of things first. What do you enjoy doing? What are you good at? What do people like and dislike? Can you go in a certain direction with the least amount of dislikes?

I've gotten down to writing and web designing, and I'm doing both for a little while. Try two of your favorite interests as non-professional (is amateur the right word?), and have friends and family look over them. Then, whatever you are best at, go for it!
I enjoy writing. I've got hundreds of manuscripts lying around half finished, half edited, and I always have this feeling that if I could just get it together, I could write some great stuff.

TheBrew wrote: View Post
I still do many things. Right now I am pursuing IT professionally, but I still play music (I'm in a band), draw, get involved in politics and write. I like to keep my options open and develop all of my skills so that when opportunity knocks, I can switch it up.
Exactly. I do a little bit of everything. I guess, like you and others in this thread, I'm a Jack of All Trades. I just have to become a Master of One!
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Old August 13 2010, 08:03 PM   #6
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Re: What do you do...

Sarek of Vulcan wrote: View Post
When you have too many interests?
Kill some of them off.

On a serious note, there's probably an underlying common theme to many of them. Feed the theme & the interests will take care of themselves.
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Old August 14 2010, 12:31 AM   #7
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Re: What do you do...

Well..hmm... if its career wise...find something were you can combine a lot of it. Like in my career I have lots of things inside I can combine. Be it being creative, musical, nature-observing, sportive, languages, meeting different people from different cultures and believes ....
And I even can combine other things from personal life with it, like travelling...I can get postcards and books and songs and such to bring with me for my job. I can start projects of all kinds, be it gardening, baking or crosscultural communication.
I can also put some Astronomy inside my job, actually everything that I find interressting, the whole world, good things, but also problems, like starting helping projects, all my personal passions and well as cultural neccessitities, that combined with their wishes and needs makes a great educational enviroment...and I can help form the future of the worlds too. And may even combine the job with writing in a sense, because of so many situation, that can be made into a book.
See? Easy! You follow one career and have everything inside that you want to do also in personal life.
Though of course it might also be good to choose one thing were you become really good, but you dont have to give up everything else for it.

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Old August 14 2010, 12:34 AM   #8
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Re: What do you do...

I was interested in music, art and sports in High School...

Now I am interested in women, money and booze.
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Old August 14 2010, 05:08 AM   #9
J. Allen
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Re: What do you do...

Holdfast wrote: View Post
Sarek of Vulcan wrote: View Post
When you have too many interests?
Kill some of them off.

On a serious note, there's probably an underlying common theme to many of them. Feed the theme & the interests will take care of themselves.
I guess the theme would be that I want to be an expert at something, I want to really excel at it, no matter what it is. With writing, I want to do something that gets read by millions of people, not for the money, but so that I can share my ideas, my viewpoint. It might be that I just want to have a voice and be able to speak out loudly and clearly with it.

TerokNor wrote: View Post
Well..hmm... if its career wise...find something were you can combine a lot of it. Like in my career I have lots of things inside I can combine. Be it being creative, musical, nature-observing, sportive, languages, meeting different people from different cultures and believes ....
And I even can combine other things from personal life with it, like travelling...I can get postcards and books and songs and such to bring with me for my job. I can start projects of all kinds, be it gardening, baking or crosscultural communication.
I can also put some Astronomy inside my job, actually everything that I find interressting, the whole world, good things, but also problems, like starting helping projects, all my personal passions and well as cultural neccessitities, that combined with their wishes and needs makes a great educational enviroment...and I can help form the future of the worlds too. And may even combine the job with writing in a sense, because of so many situation, that can be made into a book.
See? Easy! You follow one career and have everything inside that you want to do also in personal life.
Though of course it might also be good to choose one thing were you become really good, but you dont have to give up everything else for it.

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Jetfire wrote: View Post
I was interested in music, art and sports in High School...

Now I am interested in women, money and booze.
All worthwhile pursuits, my friend. One wants to be well rounded.
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Old August 14 2010, 05:12 AM   #10
Kestra
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Re: What do you do...

A note about writing. It's very hard work, and you're unlikely to be successful. This isn't specific to you, it's just the way it goes. I don't know what type of writing you're interested in, but it's very difficult to make a career out of any sort of creative writing. If you're serious about it, you need to get to work. Seriously, I can't stress how much work it is.
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Old August 14 2010, 05:15 AM   #11
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Re: What do you do...

Kestra wrote: View Post
A note about writing. It's very hard work, and you're unlikely to be successful. This isn't specific to you, it's just the way it goes. I don't know what type of writing you're interested in, but it's very difficult to make a career out of any sort of creative writing. If you're serious about it, you need to get to work. Seriously, I can't stress how much work it is.
Which means I'll have to focus and concentrate just on that effort. Actually, writing comes naturally to me. I can write all day about anything, but it's getting one topic down without straying off on a hundred other topics.

My mind wanders so much, I'm starting to think I have ADD.
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Old August 14 2010, 05:18 AM   #12
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Re: What do you do...

Sarek of Vulcan wrote: View Post
Jetfire wrote: View Post
I was interested in music, art and sports in High School...

Now I am interested in women, money and booze.
All worthwhile pursuits, my friend. One wants to be well rounded.
If I can only make music, art, sports, women, money & booze all come together I'd be a much happier person.
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Old August 14 2010, 04:08 PM   #13
Robert Maxwell
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Re: What do you do...

Sarek of Vulcan wrote: View Post
Kestra wrote: View Post
A note about writing. It's very hard work, and you're unlikely to be successful. This isn't specific to you, it's just the way it goes. I don't know what type of writing you're interested in, but it's very difficult to make a career out of any sort of creative writing. If you're serious about it, you need to get to work. Seriously, I can't stress how much work it is.
Which means I'll have to focus and concentrate just on that effort. Actually, writing comes naturally to me. I can write all day about anything, but it's getting one topic down without straying off on a hundred other topics.

My mind wanders so much, I'm starting to think I have ADD.
As someone who actually does have ADD, I'd like to clarify a few things.

ADD doesn't mean you can't pay attention or that you can only pay attention for a very short period of time. In my experience, it means you have wider attention "bandwidth" and it can be easily polluted or distracted away from whatever it is you want to focus on. Normally, I help myself focus by filling that bandwidth with background noise--music, TV shows, whatever. I'm not really paying attention to them, but having them fill out the edges of my attention span lets me focus on what's right in front of me. This doesn't necessarily work for everyone, but it works for me. I am a born multi-tasker as a result.

As for writing--putting words down is easy. Making something good out of it is hard. It's a discipline as much as an art. Too many people think that good writing is something you just crank out and it's there. While it may be true for a small number of very gifted writers, the vast majority have to write, revise, rewrite, revise again, and rewrite some more. It's like sculpting in that sense--very gradually do you produce the final vision of your work, it doesn't come right off the bat.

It's fine to write without any kind of established direction, just don't expect to get anything coherent or good out of it. It's better to start with some idea of where you want to go and see where it takes you. Having a plan is good--just be flexible about it. If you have a better idea along the way, toss the plan and go with the new direction. Just give yourself some structure to start with, or it will be very hard to produce anything that makes any sense or that other people will be interested in.
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Old August 14 2010, 06:23 PM   #14
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Re: What do you do...

Robert Maxwell wrote: View Post
Sarek of Vulcan wrote: View Post
Kestra wrote: View Post
A note about writing. It's very hard work, and you're unlikely to be successful. This isn't specific to you, it's just the way it goes. I don't know what type of writing you're interested in, but it's very difficult to make a career out of any sort of creative writing. If you're serious about it, you need to get to work. Seriously, I can't stress how much work it is.
Which means I'll have to focus and concentrate just on that effort. Actually, writing comes naturally to me. I can write all day about anything, but it's getting one topic down without straying off on a hundred other topics.

My mind wanders so much, I'm starting to think I have ADD.
As someone who actually does have ADD, I'd like to clarify a few things.

ADD doesn't mean you can't pay attention or that you can only pay attention for a very short period of time. In my experience, it means you have wider attention "bandwidth" and it can be easily polluted or distracted away from whatever it is you want to focus on. Normally, I help myself focus by filling that bandwidth with background noise--music, TV shows, whatever. I'm not really paying attention to them, but having them fill out the edges of my attention span lets me focus on what's right in front of me. This doesn't necessarily work for everyone, but it works for me. I am a born multi-tasker as a result.

As for writing--putting words down is easy. Making something good out of it is hard. It's a discipline as much as an art. Too many people think that good writing is something you just crank out and it's there. While it may be true for a small number of very gifted writers, the vast majority have to write, revise, rewrite, revise again, and rewrite some more. It's like sculpting in that sense--very gradually do you produce the final vision of your work, it doesn't come right off the bat.

It's fine to write without any kind of established direction, just don't expect to get anything coherent or good out of it. It's better to start with some idea of where you want to go and see where it takes you. Having a plan is good--just be flexible about it. If you have a better idea along the way, toss the plan and go with the new direction. Just give yourself some structure to start with, or it will be very hard to produce anything that makes any sense or that other people will be interested in.
Well, the ADD comment was tongue in cheek (), but I understand what you're saying. Structure is difficult, and I'm going to have to train myself to follow it. I'm sure you've noticed, but I don't really move in a set pattern, I tend to move more like a...well, like a cloud. Although I do get very focused when I'm under pressure to get something done. I'm just not good with putting myself under deadlines. I'm that guy who says "No later than 3 PM! I MUST have this done by 3 PM today!" and then 2:30 comes around and I say "You know, that's a little unfair, let's make it 4:30".
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Old August 14 2010, 06:35 PM   #15
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Re: What do you do...

Whatever you choose to do, make sure you enjoy it. I know this sounds like an obvious statement, but I've known several people who never followed their original dream career path because it didn't seem feasible at the time. The result was their being stuck in jobs they hated, which drained all happiness and energy from all other aspects of their lives.

If you wish to focus on your writing, would you consider working, for example, a retail job to pay the bills until you can make a living off your writing? You know, a suffer-for-your-art kind of thing. If you don't pursue your writing you may regret not doing so for the rest of your life, so I reckon it's certainly worth a shot.
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