The Dabble: Why it is both important and deadly to try new things

Why can’t you stick to a goal and pursue it with passion? Why do you feel like you have to chase each new business opportunity that comes your way? Why can’t you just stay devoted to what you are doing and allow it to work?

These are some thoughts that I had in a serious conversation this week with my wife. My wife is totally right when she says that I tend to dabble – I’ll start a project and the next minute be interested in something else. As you can see from my About page, I am aware of this habit as well.

The point of the dabble for me is to be made aware of the opportunities around me. I want to personally dabble in many of the topics I listen to through podcasts by Pat Flynn, Michael Hyatt, and others. I don’t dabble in everything that I hear about, but I definitely talk about trying certain businesses.

I think of the dabble as a learning experience. There is only so much you can learn from reading, listening, or watching. Simply put, you have to do something to gain any kind of insight about the topic that you’ve researched (or heard in passing). Learning requires action. It’s the difference between sitting in class and passively listening versus doing homework and applying the ideas learned.

What about you? 

Have you heard about anything that really interests you lately? Why not try it out? Isn’t life a big tryout? For example, you only have one time to raise your kids. You don’t have any training, and you hope and pray that you make the right decisions in raising them. You make mistakes but have to move on. Trying a new business is the same in that respect; you will make mistakes but have to keep moving. With kids, however, the tryout never ends. You have to keep raising them, and I’ve known enough grandmas that agree with me to feel confident in that point. 🙂

So, raising kids is a big tryout where we don’t get any training, and the tryout lasts a lifetime. At certain points, however, you are going to make decisions (or a number of decisions) that will impact your children forever. In the case of raising kids, don’t we look outside for parental advice? There are a number of people who are searching for the right way to raise children and listen to people’s advice; perhaps that is why Super Nanny became such a big hit. I personally listen to Andy Stanley and get a lot of parenting advice through his Your Move podcast. Do I try out the ideas that he speaks of in his podcast about parenting? Absolutely. I dabble in his ideas to see if they work for my situation.

Why not dabble? 

When we dabble, we are not fully committing ourselves to one field or line of work. We leave open opportunities around us and live life with open eyes. I never hesitate to try something new if the venture seems like one that will benefit my family.

The catch-22 of it, however, is that we are not fully committing. When you don’t fully commit, you’ll never see a task complete. You’ll never believe in what you are creating and will not see it through to full fruition. You’ll be great at starting and be motivated for a while, but you won’t finish. When it gets tough, you’ll get another idea and pursue it for a while. When that flame burns out, as it always does, you switch again to another hot idea.

The good news is that you cannot decommit from being a parent to your children. Nothing worth the gain comes easy. Raising children is not easy, but we see the blessings that follow if we just stay committed to it. Marriage is another relationship that does not come easy. Marriage requires work and full commitment. Half-hearted commitment in either area can really destroy someone’s personal life both for the short-term and the long-term.

The perfect balance.

Thankfully, there is some middle-ground when it comes to pursuing new opportunities. The wonderful thing about making a business decision is that you don’t have to stay with that decision for the long haul. You don’t have to keep in pursuit if the venture ends up being something that totally drains you or pulls your family apart. You can quit.

If you have something in mind, however, that really sparks an interest and makes you a better human, you must commit.


I don’t know Annie Armen yet, but I like this quote 🙂

Commitment means staying up late, rising early, and getting the work done in a timely manner no matter the circumstances. Commitment means that you set a goal, and you get after it with such tenacity that nothing will stop you. Will you become discouraged? Absolutely. In the discouragement you have to know that this too shall pass and that your purpose lies within the pursuit. Life is not a game with a finish line. Every commitment you make has an eternal effect. In fact, every dabble you make has an eternal effect as well, but that’s a whole nother blog post (Did I just use “whole nother”?) The point of commitment is to shape you into the human that you want to be.

Jim Rohn says it this way, “It’s not about becoming a millionaire, it’s about becoming the person who deserves a million dollars.” (roughly)

So, there you have it.

I dare you to dabble when it makes you the person you want to be, but make sure that your priorities in life are not overwhelmed by overcommitment to things that are temporary. Fully commit to what matters most and live. Living with freedom is an experience that we speak of often as Americans but seldom experience due to our own decisions (and unworthy dabblings).

Be sure to reflect often and have accountability through your relationships. Your true friends will help you.

Sayonara ’til next time.


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