Tag Archives: projects

The Dabblers Club (Are you a member?)


For Sale – One unfinished bridge to nowhere. Cheap!

There is a secret club. Nobody knows how many members it has. There are no written rules of conduct. There is no regularly scheduled meetings, and you may not even know that you are a member. It is the Dabblers Club.

What is a dabbler?

A dabbler is a person who is drawn to many different, and sometimes very diverse ideas, hobbies or areas of interest but only works at them in a superficial manner. They love the idea of starting new projects but have trouble finishing them. They are tinkerers. Once a concept is understood, the curiosity of the dabbler’s current interest wanes and the project will soon finds itself on a shelf along with other incomplete projects.

It would be easy to say that dabblers have commitment issues. Perhaps that is true to some degree and I will talk about that in a moment, but I think to be a true dabbler, is more about enjoying variety in life. There is a curiosity inside of them. They love a good puzzle. The real joy comes from figuring out the concept and not in the actual doing of a project.

A dabbler is in their element when they first encounter a new venture. Whether it is a business idea, new skill, or a complex mathematical equation, the zap of energy and excitement a dabbler feels is an indication that a new mystery is at hand. If you have felt that buzz, that itch and tingle in your hands to grasp onto a new venture, then you know the dabbler’s fixation. I call it the “shiny object syndrome”. Dabblers are magpies, they cannot resist something shiny and new.

There is nothing wrong with being a dabbler. In fact dabbling has brought humanity many wondrous things. It is in the curiosity of puzzling out a new project or trying out a new skill that wondrous ideas and inventions have been born.

But a dabbler who is not at ease with this aspect of their personality can run the risk of experiencing extreme guilt. Society does not celebrate the dabbler. It instead reveres the committed, the focused, the completer.

As with all human characteristics, the dabbler trait has a dark side as well. A person with just enough knowledge about a specific topic can be dangerous if their intent is not pure. This is the realm of the imposter, the charlatan, and the con-artist. It is here as well, that the critic resides. It has never been easier to express an opinion about topics we have only dabbled in. One need only scroll down the posts on Facebook and see all the negative comments, and attack memes to prove this point.

To embrace ones dabbling quality with confidence means to understand that we are here on earth to learn and experience. There is no better way to do that than to sample as much of life as you can. There is no score card, no test at the end, and life is not a competition. Your life is yours alone to live. As a dabbler, you must make peace with this and continue on.

This is where commitment issues come in. At some point in life, if you want to become the best you can be, you will need to commit to something. The problem for a dabbler is that the very nature of dabbling is to not fully commit to anything. Once a dabbler understands their true nature, only then can they commit themselves to dabbling. So in effect, the commitment a dabbler needs to make is not committing to one thing but committing to the practise of experiencing many things.

This distinction can make the difference between a life of feeling that you are not good at anything and as such will never amount to anything worthy, to a life that is driven by curiosity and an insatiable need to experience many things. Once this is understood, you can get on with the job of dabbling successfully.

Think about folks like Sir Richard Branson, founder and CEO of the Virgin Group, a conglomerate of over 400 companies. Or Elon Musk, founder and CEO of SpaceX, Tesla Inc., and SolarCity, among others. These are stunning examples of men who have parlayed their personal commitment to dabbling into multi-million dollar careers. It is their insatiable curiosity to learn and question combined with a drive to experience life to the fullest that has led these men to create diverse portfolio’s of successful companies.

The difference between extraordinary men like Richard Branson and Elon Musk and the average dabbler, is that these two men have embraced their dabbling character and use it to their full advantage. It is the commitment to their curiosity and love of mystery that has led them to create hundreds of cutting edge companies. But in embracing their dabbling trait they have also learned how to hire successful leaders who take on the visions these men create and take care of the day to day running of these companies. In  turn, leaving Richard and Elon the freedom to dabble even more while living really amazing lives.

Are you a dabbler? Do you flutter from one project to the next, never finishing anything substantial? Would you describe yourself as a, jack of all trades, but a master of none? Is it because you are commitment phobic, or is it because you have not yet learned to commit to your true self.

Maybe you just need to accept the fact that you are a dabbler and that your strength is in the conceptualizing and not in the doing. But understand that by declaring your gift, you may run counter to the excepted rules of society.

Maybe this is why the Dabbler’s Club is so secretive. But know this, if you dabble, you are a member of the club by default. Whether you know it or not.

Now the only question left to ask is: Are you willing to commit fully to this calling, and live life with curiosity and adventure, to sample what intrigues you, without guilt, to commit to exploring all concepts that intrigue you to your satisfaction, then freely and knowingly except the pull towards the next shiny novelty when it passes by?

If the answer is yes, then I welcome you to the club.


Filed under Opinionating, Wisdom