The Fatigue of Ambition

Go Daddy‘s bringing Merlin Mann out to give a new talk tomorrow and I’m pretty jazzed. You may recall that he came out for an earlier event just this May for his Inbox Zero talk.

I’m excited for this presentation because its subject matter has been on my mind lately. I’ve been experiencing a debilitating sense of ennui and a lack of motivation. After much introspection and deliberation, I think I’ve located the source: too many great ideas and a fundamental uncertainty about which is the best course of action.

When I say too many great ideas, I mean it. At this moment, I’ve got some compelling ideas to contribute to an open-source project I’ve taken over—I still need to write up a blog entry about that fine mess I got myself into; a book idea that is unique, unprecedented, and possibly the start of an entire franchise—two actually, but the second one is going to require the first to be very successful; an iPhone application that could make me some decent side income; a historical project that could bring me enormous satisfaction; and a raft of business ideas that are all feasible to varying degrees.

In the face of all these nearly-equally viable choices, how do you pick one and set yourself to it? Normally, I’d consider a matrix of factors like which one has the most potential, which one lends itself well to maximizing time with my family, which one fits in with the life I envision for myself, and which one is best suited to my strengths. But there’s no clear winner in this regard.

So I stew and dawdle and get distracted easily. That lack of focus makes me upset because that’s not me! Any time I start to make some progress on one of these big-ticket ideas, some inner voice nags that another one is a better use of my time. Meanwhile, I’m caught up on my feed reading and on top of Twitter, which makes me even more unsettled because I know that these things are not the best uses of my time right now.

Merlin is not going to tell me anything I don’t already know. Heck, I am even familiar with all of the techniques he’s listed in his slide deck. But maybe his talk will be rousing enough to jar me from this rut, to just pick one from the many and get things done.

Then again, maybe writing this blog entry itself has provided sufficient impetus.

[The views expressed on this website/weblog are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Go Daddy Software, Inc.]

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