14 votes

Drowning in ideas, Lacking in focus

This is my first post on the Daily Paul, I didn't bother searching past posts for something related to what I'm about to ask, please bear with me...

Scroll all the way down for a TL;DR (Reddit-speak for "Too Long; Didn't Read") and my actual question.

Long story short I am a young college student with too many ideas and not enough action. There is so much I'd like to do. Here's a list of just some of my goals.

1) Excel in my undergraduate studies for engineering
2) Work on related projects in that industry: internships, programming, etc.
3) Make enough money to pay for my living expenses, they aren't much
4) Start various businesses to begin my dream of having my own little empire
5) Learn various skills
6) Perfect taking care of myself through nutrition and other health areas
7) Train to compete in my sport on an amateur/semi-professional level

... Between family, friends, obligations, taxes, stress, following world events and the many other distractions in my life it almost appears impossible. Of course I'd like to believe nothing is impossible, or else I'd be a defeatist.

I'd like to think I have a better chance of reaching my goals than the average American but so far I've only disappointed myself. I'm doing well based on others standards but I have my own standards. I'm not necessarily lazy, but surely I am not as motivated as some of the men and women I look up to.

This is ending up being a long story not-so-short...

My initial thought is to follow Maslow's hierarchy of needs (or something similar) in order to build my life in a somewhat proper manner. I've managed to divide life into major categories that I think are important. Something like: Social, Financial, Spiritual, Personal, Physical, Career(ical). Trust me, I've spent WAY too many hours on the internet aimlessly perusing the internet in search of tools to help me reach my goals. I have countless Word documents outlining things I want to achieve as well as notes for the many projects I haven't come close to completing. My browser is constantly filled with tabs and I never seem to be able to focus. I'm great at planning, bad at finishing.

I know I sound like a pussy and that I should man up. I've had to find out a lot of things on my own in life and find the DP to be a perfect place to search for Masterful guidance. If you could spare me quotes like "Action is the key" and all the other clever sayings that'd be great. I've heard them all. All I'm looking for are actionable tips from the DP community.

I don't need tips on my specific goals, just general helpful hints that are able to assist anyone looking to achieve something.

TL;DR: What are some specific techniques for a young man who is drowning in ideas to find a way to focus his attention?

Thank you for your spare time.

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paulbu's reply is definitely more specific on engineering than what I could proffer as a music teacher lol

No problem regarding tangibility, and hope these thoughts are helpful

My (inflation-adjusted) $0.02

Good luck on your journey, and Godspeed!

Before going into that "Electric Universe" thing, get your hands dirty with conventional electronics/EE/CS (reasonably successful dude of the same mix here, CS/Physics/EE, and, at 44, I do hope that I am in the middle of my career, not past it! ;) ).

Try to pick up some Eastern meditation habit -- Yoga, Tai-Chi, maybe more aggressive down-to-earth ones like Karate or Tae-Kvon-Do, or Bushi-Do, whatever, gives your restless mind time to "sleep" and re-adjust itself.

Pick up an open-source programming project, and contribute even the minute fixes to it, you will leave your mark, and learn things (one of the things I am proud to have on the wall in my office is an acknowledgement of my contributions to GNU FORTRAN, out of all things! :) ).

You can not imagine how much fun you can have now with electronics, PICs, breadboards, robotic kits, etc. -- compared to mine growing up in "Soviet Russia" (literally) -- use it! Breadboard an original Apple or Sinclair! (Latter was a note to myself...)

Switching off fun EE and CS projects -- yes, sleep with as many girls as you like, but never promise anyone anything more than fun, unless she is more than that and you sincerely intend to keep your word to her.

Look up Paul Graham, read through his essays, and apply for Ycombinator funding.

(Learn Lisp along the way, just for intellectual pleasure of it -- to begin with!)

(Learn Latin too!)

Be kind to people, you should be even if Jesus or Buddha did not tell you to, it is kind of implied...

I guess this is what I feel like telling myself quarter a century ago, at least tonight.

Above all, best luck, and treat others in the way you would like to be treated, and, "Have fun!"

Paul B.

It's so good to see

A whole list of things that pique your interest from a single person, it shows how much we all have in common.

Sorry for not following up on this thread...

But I hope that I gave you some useful tidbits, PG and YC was prolly the most useful one! :)

Remember that this site is about common defense from the statist world, but it is not necessarily about achieving great things -- those are all up to You! Try to make yours, and enjoy the Path!

You do sound sincere, if you feel like it, do not hesitate to contact me in private over email.


Paul B.





Your life becomes productive

when you produce for others.

The want to be 'successful' produces negatives.

Look outward

I tried

to be clear when I said I'm not seeking success for the sake of success, I'm bad with words sometimes.

I understand that seeking success is materialist, that is not what I seek.

I seek the material merely to help elevate the nonmaterial, love.

I'd rather be a wise bum than a rich fool. But if I can be a wise man who is rich then that'd be ideal.

Now I understand what you mean by outward. Outward as in being outward to others. That's a lesson I've learned recently, too often I shut myself off from those I assumed were beneath my attention and love.

you write, "I shut myself off

you write, "I shut myself off from those I assumed were beneath my attention and love."

Therefore, the world shuts itself off to you. Everything needs to flow freely in the universe.

If you walk blindly through life, you will run into a lot of walls.

Look inward for understanding and the will to produce.

Look outward, life is in caring.

Free includes debt-free!

Sounds a bit like fear of

Sounds a bit like fear of success or the opposite and same, failure.

My suggestion, start with small goals that you can achieve and build your confidence, discipline and focus from there. Also, find that one idea that ignites a deep passion inside you. Remember, too many logs on the fire just deny the fire of the oxygen it needs to burn brightly.

Good luck Young Jedi.

If you walk blindly through life, you will run into a lot of walls.

Small bits at a time

I have to type this out so my brain can picture it, but you stated it much more beautifully:

Fear of success = Love of failure
Love of success = Fear of failure

I don't think the former is me, it's just a matter of getting my actions to mirror my thoughts.

My problem is mental masturbation, so I guess the solution would be to leave my head and let my physical actions make love to the world.

But what's the best way to have intercourse?

If we are using that analogy,

If we are using that analogy, the I would imagine a lot of foreplay so that the intercourse will be most fruitful! :)

If you walk blindly through life, you will run into a lot of walls.

Cyril's picture

Just one pointer

If I had to give one, and only one pointer, that'd be not so easy, but I'd probably pick this one, still :


It's an important step for any venture, imo.

'Hope this helps,

"Cyril" pronounced "see real". I code stuff.


"To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous." -- Confucius

Hard to distill wisdom, I know.

The internet is so full of wisdom I'm sick of it. I joined the DP to translate wisdom into reality.

Thanks for the tangible tip, you answered my Q perfectly.