Multi-tasking and Diminishing Returns

There is a wildness to the realization of the numerous things I want to do in life. At age 27, I am quite afraid I might never have the time to do all of these things, these aims floating in my head. I know I am relatively young, but I think of deathbeds and retirement more than some other people. Always, I am left with the question: what kind of things am I leaving behind as a contribution to the world?

I see all these possibilities but I could not sit still long enough to fixate on one. I just dip my fingers on many pies (I know this can be inefficient and dangerous.) The strange thing is that this multi-lateral approach to building my career has allowed me to make connections, see a bigger picture that fuses all my passions in life, and appreciate details or how a concept of one industry fits another. I work best with short, intense bursts that fuses a lot of insights from various sources.

All people see at the surface is that I am wearing myself out. But there is a unique high to standing at a perspective where you see numerous things coming into play. In the engineering side, you build things and process data in the mathematical realm to create hybrids and a very logical analysis. In the writing side, you learn about expressing yourself and being aware of the critical consciousness brought by the world of words. In the marketing and e-commerce side, one learns about influence and part of the reasons why people act the way they do. In the world of reading books, you open up new horizons and find both support and challenge to your mind’s schema or way of doing things.

And people just ask me to choose one only, one thing to look at, one thing to learn for my entire lifetime. I never subscribed to tunneling ever since I read Nassim Taleb’s “The Black Swan.”

How can I give up all this many-sourced intellectual stimulation when I think all I need to do is become a time and energy management virtuoso to make it all happen? This synthesis has become an addiction and a life’s work of some sorts.

I’ve learned to multi-task at a very intense level, but I also acknowledge the diminishing returns of plugging away at my ambitions through long hours. The situation is very difficult but I still believe that THERE IS A WAY to make all these things happen.

At this stage, it seems like everyone wants to tie me down to doing one thing. But I’m young and I want to explore and be able to tap into countless experiences, paradigms, and resources. It may sound selfish and completely averse to specialization, but I just see something hopeful underneath all this hard work somehow. I know that it will get better in time and I just have to keep trying, never giving up.

I know my views are unorthodox, possibly impractical at the surface, and quite ambitious. Some people would probably scoff that it cannot be done. But I know that it was not done in the past because no one bothered to take the time and find good ways to make it all work out. If I fail, at least I gave a good head start and well, that’s already a lot considering my humble lot in life as a laborer.

Most breakthroughs came because someone plugged away and persevered amidst the imbalance brought about by introducing a new way of thinking, of new ways of doing things. I’m not gonna give up on a potential breakthrough just because people think it’s a recipe for a breakdown. It’s true that the risk of breaking through and breaking down are both great. I don’t get to choose how it all ends, but I can set it up well and hope for the best.

Anyway, I don’t expect people to understand why I do not want to be tied to one string. They can call me selfish or anything they want, or call me out on missing out on certain things. But I know deep inside that these things are not just randomly planted in my heart as a passing fancy.

This can work out. There are ways. There is always a way. And if it fails midway, at least I have no regrets and I know I gave it everything I’ve got.