I usually agree with what you write, but I can’t completely agree on this story, or at least its conclusion. And this is not a negative comment, just a different perspective.
I would in fact argue that your friend became successful due to his lack of focus.
My focus is all over the place like your friend. There are things I like and there are things I’m good at. Sometimes they overlap. Your friend didn’t know his true passion or strength until he tried many different things.
Experimenting before focusing leads you to better understand what you’re good at and what you like, and hopefully find the best overlap. If he didn’t experiment, he wouldn’t know.
I learn three new skills per month. Sometimes they don’t lead that far, though it does expand my knowledge and connections. But sometimes I end up getting paid for it. I discovered that even though I really like software engineering and I’m good at it, I’m also very much enjoying writing and photography and started making money from both.
I will keep experimenting until I think I know what the perfect combo is for me. On the grand scheme of things, 6 six years of experimenting is definitely no waste and I’m sure he’s better at what he’s doing now because of clarity and the side skills he learned.
My point is: Focus is great once you have the clarity of what to focus on. Focusing on the wrong thing for too long is worst in my opinion. It is, from what I understand, one of the main cause of mid-life crisis.
“Nothing is less productive than to make more efficient what should not be done at all.” ~ Peter Drucker
I’d be interested in hearing your friends thoughts on that. And yours as well of course.
Keep up the good work Tim.