My friends would consider me quite eclectic – every 3 months I seem to have a new hobby.
At one point in time it was learning cartwheels in gymnastics, at another point in time it was mastering Mills Mess in juggling, at another it was selling roof repair leads through local SEO.
Even though the many hobbies I’ve picked up are quite different, there are a few fundamental truths that underlie each of them. Here are the 7 things that my hobbies are teaching me about life.
1. Do what you want
When I was 16 years old, I decided to take up the guitar.
I was always so concerned about having the perfect technique – positioning my hand correctly, fretting the instrument the right way, making sure the tempo was good. It all seemed quite stifling – I wanted perfection but was too clumsy.
But I remember my guitar teacher Rudy telling me – “Eddie, just do what you want, do what feels natural”.
Fast forward a couple of years and I still remember his words to this day – I’m no professional guitarist but I managed to find expression through the instrument by letting go and just doing what I wanted.
2. Hardest part is starting
The early alarm at 5am on a cold winter morning. The first step outside the house to go to the gym. The first words you type on the computer.
These are the hardest but often the most rewarding actions you can take.
Starting is always harder than just continuing.
It requires you to overcome inertia and your own predisposition towards laziness.
But it’s like a snowball on the slope of a mountain – once you start it’s much easier to get going. For me, there isn’t a better feeling than starting and riding the momentum.
3. It’s all psychological
In my university days, I thought I was crap with girls – I couldn’t even ask one out on a date, let alone speak to them properly.
So I forced myself during my master’s degree to take on cheerleading as a hobby.
For every 1 guy there were 10 girls – it was there where I sharpened my social skills and really learned how to speak with girls.
Granted, I’m no Casanova but I can at least hold my own on a date and now have a loving girlfriend.
It just comes to show that a lot of the limitations we put on ourselves are self imposed.
4. Setting an intention helps
I try to write 2,000 words everyday – sometimes I hit the target, sometimes I don’t.
One thing is for sure though – setting a goal of writing means that I am more likely to do it.
For me writing is both work and a hobby, it tilts more towards the former when I am stressed out and more towards the latter when I am feeling creative.
Professionals are defined by how willing they are to do a job regardless of circumstances.
For myself, I want to aspire to that level of professionalism with my writing – to be consistent day in and day out. It all starts with the intention.
5. It gets easier over time
The more you do something, the better you get at it.
This is true with most things in life.
When I first picked up a weight after 3 months of no gym (thanks COVID-19), I realized how weak I had gotten.
It was demoralizing to say the least and I couldn’t even do my regular workout.
But over the weeks, I have gotten stronger and stronger and my body started getting used to moving the weights.
I started stacking more plates and was soon close to my personal best. It just comes to show that things you do consistently get easier over time.
6. Perfection doesn’t exist
I used to be a perfectionist (maybe I am still a little).
But over the years, I’ve come to realize that nothing is really perfect.
Even celebrated concert pianists and ultra marathoners have something to critique about their craft.
I’m certainly not at that level but the more I know and learn the less I realize I know.
There is always something to strive for and aspire to.
Perfection always seems one step away and that keeps me motivated.
My hobbies have taught me to be both present and future oriented.
To appreciate the skills I currently have but also to aspire to be the best version of myself.
7. You learn by doing
It’s one thing reading about something and a completely different thing doing it.
You can consume all the self-help books in the world but if you aren’t willing to take action on it then nothing will really change.
Whenever I read, I always strive to incorporate that knowledge into my everyday life, whether it be sharing it with my colleagues or integrating it as part of a habit or routine.
There is no better teacher than experience.
I embrace the difficulty of executing.
I embrace the challenge that comes with mastery through doing.
I embrace the toil that comes with aspiring to be my best self.
I embrace doing.
I hope you managed to gain some nuggets of wisdom from this post.
Let me know in the comments if you’ve learned something from your hobbies.