Identity crafting

by robot-dreams 5y31st Dec 20149 comments


I spend a LOT of time on what I'll call "identity crafting".  It's probably my most insidious procrastination tactic--far worse than, say, Facebook or Reddit.

What do I mean by "identity crafting"?  Here are some examples:

  • Brainstorming areas of my life where I want to improve (e.g. social skills, sleep habits)
  • Searching for new hobbies to start (e.g. snowboarding, guitar)
  • Making a "character sheet" for myself, complete with a huge list of "badass skills" that I'd want to learn (e.g. martial arts, lock picking)
  • Creating and revising my "four-year plan", i.e. schedule of university courses (at my university I had a lot of flexibility in which courses to take each term)
  • Finding books that I "ought to read" (bonus points if the list includes "The Art of Computer Programming") and movies that I "ought to watch"
  • Looking up variants on "renaissance man" (e.g. "Four Arts of the Chinese Scholar"), and imagining how I could become one

In other words, "identity crafting" is some combination of making lists and daydreaming.  And since the vast majority of the "identities" that I "craft" never become reality, I should really say that "identity crafting" is some combination of making lists and self-aggrandizing delusion.

What's so bad about this?  Besides the obvious waste of time, this gives me a false sense of accomplishment and productivity--I often feel as though the "identity" that I "crafted" were already real, and I often feel as though I've already done enough for the day (week, month, year).  Thus in the short term, this is a great way to ensure that I don't do any "actual work", and in the long term, this is a great way to become a poser with an epically inflated opinion of myself.

So... does anyone else do this?