The insanity of dabbling

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Dab·ble – ?dab?l/

Take part in an activity in a casual or superficial way. “He dabbled in writing as a young man”

Synonyms: Toy with, dip into, flirt with, tinker with, trifle with, play with, dally with “he dabbled in politics”


Years ago a worldwide survey was done that produced some interesting results. In the study statements were made and then questions asked based on the statements.

Here is an example:

Statement 1. England is a cold country.Statement 2. Cotton does not grow in cold countries. Question: Does cotton grow in England?

In the survey done in western countries the answer was “No”.

In the survey done in many eastern countries the answer was “We don’t know. We have never been to England”. In these countries you do not know something until you have experienced it.

We live in a culture that believes that if we understand something theoretically then we know it. This leads to dabbling.

I come across this frequently in the corporate world.

It’s actually like having a vaccination. When they vaccinate you they give you just enough of the real thing to ensure that you never get the real thing.

Instead of a real tool we have a picture of a tool. We think that if we have a picture of something then we have the real thing.

We end up with a toolbox full of pictures

The problem is that I have never seen anyone cut a piece of wood with a picture of a saw, and I have never seen anyone hammer in a nail with a picture of a nail.

With a box full of pictures you will create some memories and feel good, but you will never be productive.