The Power of the "Dabbler"
The world is full of unexplored opportunities. As someone who can’t help but be driven by their insatiable curiosity I have been a “Dabbler” my whole life. What is this fleeting motivation and how can we turn this often seen as a negative habit into a benefit.
Dabble - To undertake something superficially or without serious intent.
The negativity comes from the idea that as a dabbler you are unable to truly grasp a subject, topic or skill because you don’t have the conviction to continue. Proficiency is never achieved
The internet has become the ultimate enabler for the dabbler. Technology advances rapidly, always creating new opportunities to chase. With almost infinite information and access. Within such an environment no matter how deep you want to go into a topic you will find a source.
Motivation can come from several sources, a friend, co-worker or flashing lights. The Dabbler rarely lacks motivation to start, it’s when things become difficult or interest wanes that progress halts.
We are only humans with limited attention spans who tend to spend our time in search of something interesting to focus on. We then create our own little rabbit holes to go down and often become infatuated with it. Building an interest in a topic takes time and effort and eventually for the dabbler this effort becomes too much and we stop, not growing or learning anymore in our topic of choice. This habit runs deep within our monkey brains. The novelty and dopamine we receive from new and exciting things is addicting but eventually wears off.
How can we make use of this and why can it be a good thing? As a dabbler you will likely have many interests and hobbies. You have scratched many curiosities and followed plenty of tutorials. How does this benefit you? First it gives you a massive knowledge base to work with in all aspects of your life. You have learned small or large portions of many topics.
Having a large knowledge base allows you to create a different picture than others who have chosen to focus and hone. You may see things that others are unable to put together. Connecting information in novel ways is a skill in itself. The interesting part of this is that there is no limit to what types of information you can connect. Interesting things happen when a person has knowledge in both computer engineering as well as graphic design. Another example could be perhaps someone has learned about biology, psychology and machine learning. The thoughts and dots being linked could potentially create fascinating results. When it comes to problem solving, having a unique perspective can give you an edge.
As a dabbler you have learned many things many times. Being able to learn and apply is a key skill in today's workforce. Because dabblers don’t have the intent or motivation to seriously pursue. They are free to wander through the learning process and when need be focus on certain holes in their understanding to suit their roles.
Have you heard of the phrase “Jack of all trades, master of none”? This describes the dabbler. More and more the world is advancing and skills begin to overlap. Someone with even a hint of understanding in multiple subjects becomes an important asset to a small company or startup where one individual may have to fill many roles.
Embracing your curiosity is not so much a burden but a skill. One that can be worked on and refined. Having multiple interests means you have invested enough time into something to a point that is meaningful to you. Oftentimes forcing yourself to continue leads to worse results. Learning to use these sparks of motivation can help you gain more than what you would have through focus alone. Keep these thoughts in mind the next time you find yourself going down that rabbit hole again.
Thank you for reading!