I know about the term butterfly, but I am looking for something a little different.

What do you call a person that is greatly motivated to achieve a goal, but loses interest the second after that goal is achieved?

The difference to the butterfly example metioned above would be the provided achievement of said person.

It would also be great if anyone could mention a literary reference to such a character.

  • As far as literary references go, this sounds like Mr Toad from Kenneth Grahame's Wind in the Willows, about whom it is said "'It's all the same, whatever he takes up; he gets tired of it, and starts on something fresh.'" In the span of a few chapters you see his intense passions change from boats to wagons to cars. But a reference to Mr Toad may be taken to mean one of his many other character flaws, not just his whimsical faddishness.
    – user39720
    Feb 9 '14 at 1:08
  • I did not know that you were looking for made-up phrases.
    – 0..
    Feb 12 '14 at 3:13
  • Are you looking for 'dilettante'?
    – Mitch
    Jun 14 '14 at 21:52

How about a "flighty Renaissance man or woman."

In other words, a person who can do many things well, but who flits from one completed project to another, having lost interest in what was just achieved but eager to try something novel and hence to him or her, exciting.

Then there are the following:

  • a flighty generalist.

  • a person with a high threshold for achievement, but a low threshold for boredom. (I kind of like this one.)

  • a serial (or compulsive) goal setter and achiever.

  • an overachiever

  • a new-goal-oriented person

  • a serial implementer (Not bad.)

  • a serial visionary

  • a compulsive doer

  • an accomplished manic-depressive

  • fruition boredom (I really like this one!)

Take your pick, but let me know if any one (or more) tickles your fancy.

  • Yeah, I especially like the frutition boredom and the threshold thingy :)
    – fischi
    Feb 9 '14 at 19:19
  • 1
    Possibly dilettante?
    – Wudang
    Apr 14 '15 at 22:43

The best I could come up with is "fickle" and "chaser". Though, they are both used in relationships mainly.

from urbandictionary:


Where you want someone so bad and "chase" them and once they like you back you dont like them anymore


someone who is interested in someone but as soon as that person returns the feelings they dont have feelings for them anymore. ie. only interested when the other person isnt.

This topic can be discussed in psychology also. For example, there is a psychological term called "anticipatory joy", which means "anticipation of a desired outcome makes us feel good" (and even better than the actual outcome).

A literary character is mentioned in the book called "A Psychological Perspective on Joy and Emotional Fulfillment" By Chris Meadows, when explaining "anticipatory joy":

enter image description here

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.