Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Balancing Hobbies with Professional and Academic Pursuits

When people here the word "hobby," they will sometimes apply a very negative connotation to the word. The reason for this is because, oftentimes, a hobbyist pursuit is often equated with the pursuit of leisure and leisure is often associated with wasting time. In other words, a hobby is never a serious venture and it will always detract away from more serious and important pursuits.

This is a very foolish notion because it assumes that unless one invests time in a so called serious pursuit, then one is wasting away one's life. In order to be successful in life, then a person must have a serious mindset and pursue serious things. If the person is not working, then they should spend their time thinking and speaking about work. Anything that detracts away from work is a "bad" thing. Not only is this type of thinking flawed, it is also very dangerous. This type of thinking undermines mental and physical health and also contributes a great deal to the undermining of one's own profession. That is, a protracted lack of leisure pursuits designed to expand professional pursuits will yield little more than a very unproductive worker. This all leads to an important question: if hobbies are important for health and professional productivity, why is it that certain people will have a ideology that revolves around only pursuing the allegedly serious things in life despite the obvious evidence that such a mindset is foolish and counterproductive? The answer is conditioning.

In other words, the person's biased outlook on a hobby is something that has been instilled in them either by parents or the school system or a religious institution or some other form of authority that has decided to dictate to another person how and why they should spend their time because conventional wisdom has dictated that playing too much basketball or lifting weights or reading is a bad idea because it undermines the ability to succeed at a chosen profession. This is, of course, pseudo logic that does not explain why certain people who do actively pursue hobbies also become very successful in a variety of professional and trade fields.

The flawed logic present within the argument is that putting time and hours into something automatically makes one skilled at a particular task, hence, anything that detracts from such pursuits will hinder success. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Working hard does not equate success, working smart does. If one can develop a solid skill by practicing an hour a day, then three hours a day should yield three times the success, correct? Maybe it does, maybe it doesn't. If a person increased the development of skill time from one hour to three and only sees a very marginal and slight increase in skill, then the additional two hours is not worth the investment. Those two hours would be far better suited being invested in another venue. No matter how much one wishes to believe that forcing or imposing an additional two hours of study will increase productivity, if it does not actually increase the productivity, no level of belief will change the fact. Nor will forcibly ceasing one's hobby pursuits create an automatic increase in skill, regardless of how much a person wishes that to be the case.

Hobbies can undermine work or professional pursuits if the amount of hours expended into the hobby causes a direct decrease in the productivity of professional pursuits. If it is not causing a decrease, then there is no cause for alarm. After all, nothing had happened; although there will be those people who will hit the panic button for no reason in order to create a crisis that is not there at all. We see this all the time in high schools when a student's grades fall and he is removed from a sports team. Ok. What if the sport activities have zero to do with the decline in grades? That is a question that is hardly ever asked because removing a student from athletic activities to increase grades is a prearranged response that is done without any thought or consideration involved. Worst of all, it might never even properly address the problem of why the grades have fallen in the first place. Then again, functionality is not the true concern here. The primary goal of shifting focus is to punish and to alleviate the punishment the student is forced to increase his or her grades. A worse module of performance enhancement can simply not be found! Sadly, such is the mindset of those who wish to destroy a healthy individual in his or her pursuit of a hobby.

No comments: