We all want to be something - a writer, an entrepreneur, a singer, a dentist. But we don't all have the same thing in mind when we say we want to be something, whatever that something may be. While some are focused on the doing, many others are focused on the being. And there are completely different ways of getting there, depending on what the focus is on.
A reality TV star who is focused on winning the contest more than releasing new singles (or albums) or an entrepreneur who is more focused on getting accepted at YCombinator than shipping her product are focused on the being.
Even in less extreme examples, like learning a new language or traveling, people can be focused more on the being than on the doing. This has led me to draw up a few profiles of people.
The Selfie Gatherer
This is the equivalent of the person who posts her selfies with every notable thing in her life, be it meeting a celebrity, or eating at a popular restaurant or visiting a famous tourist destination. The Selfie Gatherer is always identifying new things to do, with the primary objective of wanting to be recognised for doing it. So, she might learn a few phrases of a new language on Duolingo and be in a position to pass off as knowing the language at a dinner table conversation. The work done by this kind of person is shallow at best and farcical at worst.
The Web Surfer
This is the equivalent of the person who is always surfing the web for something more entertaining. This kind of person is simply trying out a lot of new things without having the patience or the diligence to invest long enough time to make something meaningful in an area. This kind attends guitar lessons for a month, then does Salsa for a couple more, and tries starting up for a few more, until the next shiny thing comes along to take the attention away from the current area of interest. The work done by this kind of person is shallow in all the areas where there is no immediate 'click'. The work is only good when she is great at something at the first attempt - a natural. And very few of us are a natural at anything that we do, when we first do it at least.
This is the equivalent of the person who is obsessed about getting good at that one thing, but just doesn't find it happening for her. This could be either because she has set too ambitious a goal for herself or is pursuing something for the reason of wanting to be while not actually doing things that will let her be that. There is definitely diligence here, but either there is no fit with the work which suffers in quality as a result or is pushing herself too hard which also results in a decrease in the quality of work. What she's pursuing doesn't fit with her lifestyle in this case. Either she has to change her lifestyle or change her goal.
This is the equivalent of the person who knows more about how to monetize her blog or her Instagram account than she does about the things she writes about or photographs. This kind of person is always on the lookout for new avenues of making money (or gaining something else tangible or intangible). Anything that this person does is a trade. She is doing things that will get her something in return while not really having any other reason for doing the work. This is the entrepreneur who wants to startup so she can get rich. The work done by this kind of person is mediocre and passable and manages to let her make a living off it, but never make a killing off it. There is little personality in the work that is shipped, which tends towards the category of click-bait.
The Seth Godin
This is the equivalent of well, Seth Godin. If you don't see a blog post by Seth Godin on any day of the year, you can pretty much assume he was run down by a bus. Because he has something interesting and of value to say every single day. No exceptions. This kind of person doesn't ship her work for any reason other than the simple and bubbling desire to do so. And what comes of it is merely a consequence. This is the founder who really wanted to solve a problem and ended up building a company around it. No pivots. No figuring out product-market fit. She ships it whether the world needs it right now or not and ensures people buy it. She's the one that makes a dent in the universe. She is focused on the doing a lot more than on the being. She has chosen herself.
Which kind are you? And which kind do you want to be?
As always, there is no right answer.