Multipotentialites, Chronic Hobbyism, Creative Envy and the Will to be Great at Something

Multipotentialites, Chronic Hobbyism, Creative Envy and the Will to be Great at Something


10 min read

Multipotentialites, Chronic Hobbyism, Creative Envy and the Will to be Great at Something

In 20 minutes worth of scroll, you get to consume art that took someone decades of their lives to develop and evolve, and in multiple areas of human endeavor.

You get to see a decades-old singer perform their best song ever in 10 seconds, one quick scroll, the best human figure drawer of all time finishing drawing a realistic human arm on nothing but paper and pen.

You scroll a bit more, some guy showing an app he built in 10 days that now makes him millions a year. A marketer who spent most of her days knee-deep studying industries, copywriting, and design just made a new post teaching something novel to her audience.

You see a trailer for that new movie from that director you love and made you think "I want to direct a movie too like him". You see that new game from that franchise you love "damn I wish I could make a game like that".

Maybe you see someone recommending a book by your favorite author "damn I wish I could make a book like that".

A resident doctor shares how she studies for exams and stays updated on the latest medical research.

We see all these points of excellence, and naturally, something deep inside of us recognizes the value of it. And we want to be able to embody those values too.

This desire can eventually even show itself as creative envy, the envy that someone is so creative in their area of expertise, and you are so far away from them. Creative envy can be so big that you'd even hop hobbies just because you see the distance from their "talent"(replace with hours and hours and hours of practice) to yours.

So how do we focus on fewer things and get more value out of them? How do we excel at our own thing?

The Paradox of The Hobby

It's easier to focus and zero in on your 9-5 job than it is on a hobby, and I think that's the largest source of the problem, at least for me.

I can focus on my job very easily, do what needs to be done, brainstorm new things, and keep "leveling up". I think it helps to have more limits on what you are doing. I'm not running the entire company at my job, so most of my decisions are around the technical area. That limits a lot of where my brain can go. This has its pros and cons of course.

I've seen a study mentioning how some people can have more fun working vs in their free time because they just have unlimited ways to enjoy their free time, the paradox of choice causes them to be unsatisfied with whatever way they choose to spend it.

So this blog post is my first step to focus more on my free time and get the most out of it.

This is not a text for those who have one hobby they like to do after work, it's not for those who have 2 hobbies, or even 3.

This is not for the ones who are completely fulfilled by what they do daily.

This is for those who have that dog in them but don't know where to unleash it.

The Dog and the Infinite Leashes

A multipotentialite is someone who has many creative pursuits and passions in life β€” someone who has multiple potentials.

If you feel yourself to be in that situation, you're both lucky and not, a dog following one leash gets somewhere, and a dog with infinite leashes pointing in opposite directions stays in the same place.

Ever since I was a kid I knew I wanted to do "more". First, it was "I want to make video games just like the ones I love". Then I grew up and had less time to game but more time to watch YouTube. I wanted to make YouTube videos. Then it was making robots. Then I read Nassim's books and wanted to become a statistician, hell I even wrote some blog posts on it.

And I did succeed in a lot of those things. I have made videos go viral on youtube, and on my older channel. I made games, I built robots in college(some videos of the robots also on my old youtube channel), and I even wrote a book on robot building for kids and teachers.

All very exciting stuff. But at some point, you gotta wonder "Maybe I could find my own craft, and focus on that alone".

I'm not sure if many of you out there are like me or not, but if you've been hobby-hopping for a while, and feel angst every time you see a piece of art that "you could totally do if you had the time", then you know you're not living up to your entire potential. You've been distracted and spread too thin for too long.

How to solve this?

A Writing Exercise

I decided on a writing exercise, just me, a piece of paper and a pen.

I listed out all my current hobbies, then I listed the minimum "unit" I could do in that hobby. After having that, I then went on to, in each hobby and ask myself these questions:

  1. Do I love consuming it?
  2. Do I love creating it?
  3. What would happen if I never did this again?

This writing exercise then has 2 parts to it.

Minimum Hobby Unit/Micro Expression of Hobbies

Here are some examples so you know what that looks like:

  1. Standup: Being funny with friends or writing one joke.
  2. Youtube: An unedited video whenever I feel like it.
  3. Singing: in the shower.
  4. Song Playing: 5-minute harmonica play.
  5. writing: journal.
  6. Bodybuilding: working out regularly
  7. making games: writing magic systems + writing stories
  8. indie hacking: Sketch ideas + make MVP.

It's not perfect, but it gives you an idea if you don't want to completely stop a hobby but just do a little bit of it every week/day/month. Maybe playing 5 min of a song on your favorite instrument can satiate your need for a "music hobby".

With this done if you end up deciding to prioritize 1 key hobby, you can spend 80% of your free time on that one hobby, and the rest going over the others in a short burst type of way.

Now on to the next step in this writing exercise.

3 Questions

These three questions:

  1. Do I love consuming it?
  2. Do I love creating it?
  3. What would happen if I never did this again?

Those are there to make sure you're internally motivated to do it (you love consuming it, and you love creating it).

The last question is to tackle your FOMO head on, and be honest about what you really will miss and won't.

Plus it helps to see the last question as a "what if you never did this for the next decade" vs "never". Life has several stages and maybe you will have time to pursue it at a later date.


If you just love consuming, it might just be you following the herd ("Mr Beast is a successful YouTuber, I can be one too!"), if you don't even love consuming it, why would you create it? Thats a very huge red flag if you aren't even your first viewer (in the youtube example).

You gotta love seeing the end result.


But if all you do is love consuming, then there are two things at play here.

  1. If you are good at it, and you still don't like creating it, it's probably not really for you, or you might be having mental health issues. You might want to check with a professional on that. I'm saying this because it's just not that "normal" to hate something you are good at, which brings us to the opposite scenario.
  2. But if you suck at it, then you probably don't like creating because you suck. Got it? So Good They Can't Ignore You is a great book that goes into why "following your passion" is bad advice. One of the arguments in the book is that once you put in the work and get good at something, you start having "passion for it".

Now we could go on and on in both situations, but that is the gist of it and I think it's enough understanding for the exercise.

If you love creating it though? That's self-explanatory. Its a win in my book.

Chances are if you list the hobby in this exercise, you probably love doing it (unless its a romanticized hobby you want to try but haven't actually done it). In my case that would be playing the electric guitar, never did it but BOY do I love to hear some good guitar solos.

Third and Final Question - What if You Never did it anymore?

Thats a huge one. I've found its very useful to invoke fear to see if you would really miss it. Really examine your life and see how you feel if you were in a situation where you would never do that hobby again. I've found this question made a lot of romantic feelings for some hobbies crystal clear.

I love guitar solos, sure. But I'm 27 years old and I never played one, so I might be the best thing ever, but I KNOW for a fact that I could NEVER stop writing. It's just not in the cards. Of all my hobbies, writing is something I will do until I die.

I started writing when I was 17 in a diary of sorts (the cool kids call them journals, but I'm not cool, I'm cringe).

With this question, I realized that I had a lot of romanticized hobbies and started zeroing in on the ones I can't live without.

It made me realize for example that I can live without publishing a standup special in the next decade, I can live without playing the guitar in the next decade as well, I can live without:

  • Singing professionally
  • acting
  • making games
  • making super-edited youtube videos

So I'm left with, I really want to:

  • Write in any shape of form
  • code apps
  • make unedited videos at least

Those things are what I'm zeroing in. But hell youtube is by far the least priority.

I decided to "retire" from my main channel because I feel an enormous inner pressure to make a "great" video, and instead to just make weekly vlogs on a separate channel that I just record and publish in less than 10 minutes a week.

This way I can focus on writing to organize thoughts (and sometimes share them here), code apps in my free time, and record weekly anything I want.

Before and After

So the goals I had before with my hobbies:

  1. write a book
  2. make a standup comedy show
  3. make a successful YouTube channel
  4. build amazing indie hacker projects
  5. become an actor
  6. make a movie
  7. becoming fucking ripped like Superman
  8. Learning origami
  9. welding
  10. working with wood
  11. parkour
  12. sumi-e
  13. archery
  14. horse riding
  15. more that I don't remember now

And then after the exercise(with both the first part, making a minimum hobby unit + prioritizing):

  1. write in any shape and form (maybe just on my obsidian second brain)
  2. joke around
  3. record weekly unedited videos with 10 minutes of effort a week at a maximum
  4. build amazing indie hacker projects
  5. skip
  6. skip
  7. work out normally every week
  8. skip the rest

That just frees up a lot of my mind to have time to focus on the important things.

It doesn't mean that by "skipping" I will never do them, they just won't be the main ones and I won't have any "larger" plans for any of those.

I just decided on fewer things that I want to be great at: Writing and making great apps.

Did you find this exercise useful? Are you like me and constantly hopping into different hobbies all the time? Are you not? Do you have other tips you'd like to share with others? Leave them in the comments down bellow. Thank you and I will see you in the next post.

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