I’ve been realizing the over the past couple weeks that not everyone is a maker. It’s easy for me to forget because it’s the persona I identify most strongly with (see my “creative personality type” of an artist). I confront the truth again every time I hear what others spend their free time on and contrast this with what my natural desire is to do with my free time. I’ve written before about people’s relationship to time, and now, I’m thinking about how people fill that time very differently that point to their priorities and natural dispositions.

a text I received today when asking for advice on what to get for someone

a text I received today when asking for advice on what to get for someone

Some people fill time with social activities: brunch catch ups with friends, coffees with new people, exciting dates at night, and precise wayfinding to ensure a proper showing at all the parties on the weekend. Others prefer exploring an off-road trail in the forest and finding a hole-in-the-wall in a new city, always looking for the next adventure. Some prefer nights in relaxing on the couch with a nice book or movie or Netflix series, immersing themselves in new worlds and absorbing information from unfamiliar domains. And some prefer filling their time with creation and conception, including drawing an idea out into a painting or a tangible prototype or even a crafted essay.

Each way of filling time point towards a disposition towards a certain persona: neighbors, adventurers, consumers, and makers. Are there others I’m missing? Which one do you think you are?

Acknowledging and being aware of the fact that I’m a maker is useful for both leveraging my natural assets, when they are useful, and for giving myself the extra push to try on a different persona to ensure some variety. I know that I need to give myself an extra push to meet new people and be social because I know have fun being present and attentive to the people I care about. I also know that I have to nudge myself to take a leap on traveling to a new place and leaving my normal place of comfort.

It’s easy to get lost in these personas when you get absorbed into different activities. I’ll have a span of time when I’m on a consumption binge, eliminating television series and novels and more, or for example, when I’m traveling, I’m in my adventure mode, seeking to pack as many new experiences and sensations into ever second of the ever fleeting time I have.

I feel like a liquid in these moments, shifting my personality and energy to fill the available space. It feels true that broadly people are like this—they adapt over time to the environment they’re placed in, but it’s interesting to me that some people can make this shift seamlessly, as if swapping out a different outfit and mask. I was participating in an exercise the other day where we were defining different ambiguous terms and “liquidity” was one of them. The image that immediately came to mind was that of water, filling the container it’s given, and my definition reflected that: “Acts like a liquid rather than a solid, travels smoothly within bounds.” In that sense, my personality and energy feels like it has liquidity, trading in maker coins for neighbor marks and adventurer badges. They naturally arbitrage and find the best deal, shifting to the demands of the surrounding environment that make certain currencies an unbeatable deal.

I love people who can get excited about anything, fiercely so. It’s like the perfect combination of chill and intensity—being adaptable enough to flex to others' desires and still having a blast while having very pronounced passion for what is fun and exciting to them. I think energy liquidity is a crucial part of being able to do this, shifting to fill the boundaries of activity and catalyzing energy regardless of your final form.

A side note: as a maker, I’m also broadly curious how to get others to try on the persona or be more inclined to make? Making feels like a very crucial action to me to instill a sense of agency in people, especially when that philosophy takes shape in a community.

This is the 94th installment in my experiment of publishing raw, lightly edited mini-essays every day towards achieving 100 public pieces. Check out the rationale and the full list here.