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3 Reasons Why We Give Up Our Hobbies & Passions — And 3 Ways We Can Take Them Back!

Creating time to pursue our hobbies and passions has been shown to improve workplace performance, mental well-being and physical health. So, why do so many of us give up on them?

Do you ever find yourself wondering what things would be like if you’d continued on with a hobby, but think that it’s ‘too late to start again’, or that ‘you’re too busy’?

1. We live in a result-driven society where our worth is determined largely by how we compare to others — and to our past selves.

We become exposed to the idea of assigning worth to ourselves based on how we compare to others from a young age. Whether comparisons become apparent through competition (e.g. highest test scores, fastest in the playground, strongest arm wrestler) or observation (e.g. most beautiful eyes, biggest muscles, thinnest body); those who possess the traits that society deems to be of highest value will be rewarded with recognition, admiration, praise — and likely jealousy by those deemed ‘inferior’.

2. We are taught to fear the unknown (uncertainty) and value ‘the known’ (security).

In part, this is understandable. The generations we descended from went through times of economic struggle and poverty (whether as first-hand sufferers or observers). As such, their desire to avoid seeing their offspring suffer the same fate is etched into their subconscious mind, and is promptly passed down to us.

3. We fear disapproval and rejection.

We grow up in a highly judgemental society where, especially during teenage years, not conforming to the norm is often frowned upon by our peers. Being very ego-driven at this age, we often suppress our passions (often because of point 1).

1. Detaching from the idea that ‘meaning’ can only be derived from external recognition.

Once we break this connection, it liberates us to continue our hobbies and passions without it needing to be validated. If anything, we can derive more joy from it in the process, as it’s no longer tied to how much we accomplish. And with this, we’re also liberated from the constraint of time; we can simply enjoy our hobby when we wish — we are not obliged to exercise it x times a week for y hours to reach z goal.

2. Balancing future wants/needs with present joy.

We can live and enjoy the present moment whilst still honouring our future. As a simple example, whatever hobby you desire to express now has an underlying benefit for your future state, whether it’s to re-energise you for the tasks at hand, or simply to de-stress and disengage from the events of the day to enable you to be more pleasant and present around your friends, spouse or children.

3. Identifying and reining in our ego-driven thoughts, limiting beliefs and perceptions.

When we perceive that others may be judging us in a certain fashion, and so decide not to act in a certain way, we need to be honest with ourselves. The ‘others’ in this equation, simply put, most likely don’t give a *insert 4-letter word that isn’t suitable for LinkedIn here*. They have their own problems to deal with, and they’re far too consumed by them to focus on us! They don’t have more than a second to spare for us as they go about their own business.

I’m a performance coach, speaker & author. I endured Engineering at Cambridge University and survived management consulting. I like tennis and poetry.

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