Exploration burnout

My original text:
One of the drawbacks of having done several cycles of exploration, is that the risk of “exploration burnout” becomes higher. In early 1998, when I was 19 and new in Bergen (I had lived in Denmark 1991 – December 1997), I made my decision to explore more, become more active. That led to a ton of exploration and activity.

In March 2020, the pandemic effectively stopped a lot of processes for me. Then the split of marriage came in July 2020. I was, however, still active – I was member of a national expert group that prepared a report to the government of Norway, and we were during 2020 completing the process. The final report is now out, and my work there is done.

This spring of 2023 is the first time since 2020 when I feel like an exploration phase is here. I am having a meeting about one such opportunity this afternoon (May 15th), and I am looking forward to that.

But I am also aware of the exploration burnout. I easier feel that “I know where this is ending, I know the endpoint, the outcome. Is this battle worth it?”; and then I realize that this is simply an aspect of cynicism that I need to battle. I do not wish to become a cynic. I do not wish to be in a position where I do not “run things to their course” because I feel like I know the outcome; because I feel like I have seen it all. Because I know that I have not seen it all. And also, I might meet new people in these new exploration phases, and some of those people may be important in my life.

My question is how to deal with exploration burnout. It is not critical at this stage, but I feel it’s effects, and I want to minimize it.

ChatGPT prompt: “Improve this text, making it a bit longer and more emotional, but also founded in psychological research.”

ChatGPT output: “Embarking on numerous cycles of exploration can be an exhilarating journey filled with opportunities for growth and self-discovery. However, as with any endeavor, there can be drawbacks, and one such drawback is the risk of experiencing “exploration burnout.” This phenomenon, supported by psychological research, occurs when the novelty and excitement of exploration begin to wane, leaving individuals feeling drained, uninspired, and questioning the value of their ongoing efforts.

Allow me to share a personal story that delves into the emotional depths of exploration burnout. In the early months of 1998, when I was a young and vibrant 19-year-old, I found myself in the captivating city of Bergen, having recently bid farewell to my previous home in Denmark. Fueled by a fervent desire to embrace new experiences and engage more actively with the world, I wholeheartedly embraced the spirit of exploration. My days were filled with a whirlwind of adventures and endeavors, leaving no stone unturned in my pursuit of growth and fulfillment.

Then, the unexpected happened. March 2020 arrived, and the world was struck by the devastating impact of a global pandemic. The sudden halt to countless processes and routines affected me profoundly, casting a shadow over my once vibrant and dynamic life. And as if the universe wanted to test my resilience even further, July 2020 marked the disintegration of my marriage, ushering in a period of emotional turbulence.

In the midst of this tumultuous time, a small glimmer of hope remained. I was still an active member of a national expert group entrusted with the responsibility of preparing a significant report for the Norwegian government. Throughout the entirety of 2020, despite the personal challenges I faced, I persisted in my commitment to this important endeavor. As the year drew to a close, the final report was unveiled, marking the completion of my involvement. While a sense of accomplishment washed over me, there was an undeniable void left in its wake.

Now, in the spring of 2023, a flicker of anticipation stirs within me as I sense the arrival of a new phase of exploration. The prospect of fresh opportunities beckons, and I find myself looking forward to a meeting later this afternoon—an encounter that holds the promise of opening new doors. Yet, amidst this glimmer of excitement, a cloud of concern looms above: the lingering specter of exploration burnout.

I have noticed within myself a propensity to succumb to cynicism, an insidious voice that whispers, “I already know where this will lead. Is it truly worth the effort?” It is a treacherous path to tread—a road paved with familiarity and a misguided sense of knowing the outcome. However, in these moments of doubt, I remind myself that cynicism is merely an illusion, a deceptive lens through which I may unwittingly view the world.

For I know, deep down, that I have not truly seen it all. The depths of human experience are vast and ever-expanding, and within each new exploration phase, there lies the potential for transformative encounters and invaluable connections. People, previously unknown to me, may cross my path, weaving their stories into the fabric of my life, and forever altering its course.

And so, the question arises: how does one navigate the treacherous terrain of exploration burnout? While not reaching a critical stage, I can feel its insidious effects slowly seeping into my being, threatening to overshadow my future endeavors. In this endeavor to minimize its impact, I turn to the wisdom gleaned from psychological research and personal introspection.

Firstly, I recognize the importance of acknowledging my emotional state and understanding that exploration burnout is a valid experience. Validating my feelings allows me to confront them head-on and avoid burying them beneath layers of denial or apathy”

Reflection: I find the ChatGPT response to be funny, in a way. The language is so AI-like. But I also liked parts of it. Let me try something else.

ChatGPT prompt: Now write a haiku about exploration burnout and the importance of not becoming a cynic

ChatGPT output:

Worn paths lose their charm,
Exploration’s flame fades,
Cynic’s heart grows cold.

ChatGPT based on prompt by me

ChatGPT prompt: Now write a haiku about the cynic’s heart becoming inspired again.

ChatGPT output:

Jaded heart revived,
New vistas ignite the soul,
Cynic finds hope’s glow.

ChatGPT based on prompt by me

I feel that my soul is ignited, and I have more hope than in a long time. But my heart is still jaded, and I feel an impending DOOM lol no, I feel an overarching risk that I may become a victim of this burnout.

So. I want to do something to minimize that risk.

07:26. Finishing up here, getting ready to go to work.

[Video of process; 13m43s / 86MB]


One of the exercises that I did a lot in earlier years was to:

  • Study the input
  • Predict my process, and go through the motions
  • Study the output

As I have written earlier, I started writing a journal at age 9. And early on, I started to look back in time, forward in time, and see the present moment as a fixation point between the two spheres.

Logging my input is key. Logging my process is key. Logging my output is key.

When I have artificial / computational systems that help me with my logging, I am several steps ahead.

Since November 2022, chatgpt has been the big mozilla on the generative AI block. But Bard from Google is shaping up now, and we will also have other solutions that give output based on input. Prompts. I see prompt engineering as something that will have a massive boost as a career in the next years.

In the near future, I will have solutions that help me study my input, predict/have variations of my process, help me get alternative motion paths, and help me study my output.

I will write about these solutions and my Process of using them on this blog.