Originally Posted by Keith
I'd still be interested in an answer to this, please.
Keith, one thing to consider is -- what is the definition of "achieving stuff"? Is it the same for you as it is for others?
Think of it this way -- a bee flies from flower to flower, stopping momentarily here and there, but never lingering too long at any once place. Why doesn't he stay? Because once he has got what he came from, he has no reason to stay. Someone may say to that bee "well, you haven't achieved a proper botanical investigation of the plant beyond its nectar!". But just because the bee didn't achieve what that other person thought they should achieve doesn't mean the bee was a failure!
In many ways, that's what it's like to have many interests and not be able to commit -- you may stop momentarily here and there, but never linger at any one place long enough for people to say "you've achieved something!" In fact, I'll bet that you achieve quite a lot -- it may not be what others expect you to achieve, but that doesn't mean you haven't achieved anything. What you get out of doing something -- your reward (or your "achievement") -- may just be different than what others think it "should" be.
Now think of the projects or that you've started and maybe not finished, or things that you've tried but not "achieved" (according to other people's definitions of achieved). At what point did you lose interest, or just want to move onto the next thing? I'll bet that if you look at those things, you may find a pattern developing. That pattern may be what "achievement" is to you -- it's the reward that you look for when you take things on.
As an example -- I get bored with things really quickly. I used to think -- like you -- that I wasn't really ever achieving anything, because people didn't recognize my half-finished projects as accomplishments. However, when I looked at *when* I stopped or lost interest in things when I did -- I realized that it was always at the point where I was able to make a connection; to understand something, or to connect to unconnected ideas, or something like that. In other words, I stopped exactly when I was meant to -- I had "accomplished" my goal to make a connection, and even if that may not be what others thought I should achieve. Even if I didn't know at the time what I was looking for in my projects, I always felt like saying "okay, I'm done" when I had reached that point of making the connection. When I started to look at things that way, I started to see that I actually had achieved a lot of connection-making, and that I really was getting out of things what I had wanted in the first place (even if I didn't know it at the time).
There's a Zen koan which talks about knowing when you've got what you came from (as opposed to when others think you're done!):
"Q: How long should you stay at something"
A: However long it takes to get what you came for.
Q: How do you decide what you came for?
A: You don't; you discover it.
Q: How do you discover it?
A: you notice what isn't there anymore when you feel like leaving" (Refuse to Choose, 30).
When you feel like moving on to the next thing, is it possible that you have already achieved what you came for, even if it doesn't match up with other people's ideas of success?
"As with the bee, you can tell what a Scanner's Reward is by why he's drawn to something and when he stops. When you lose interest in something, you must always consider the possibility that you've gotten what you came for; you have completed your mission." (RtC, 31).
Hopefully that at least gives you a different way of thinking about things -- it may or may not help answer your question, but I know it sure helped me!