why your next hobby should be one you’re no good at

I’m not a particularly adventurous person.  I certainly wouldn’t fall at the extreme stick-to-the-stuff-you-know end of the spectrum…but I do avoid heights and unknown vegetables.  To challenge myself, I recently decided to try my hand at a new hobby: drawing.  So far my efforts have ranged from truly horrifying…

you wouldn't know, but it's violet from the incredibles.
you wouldn’t know, but it’s violet from the incredibles.

to finished products that actually look okay.

esmeralda from the hunchback of notre dame.
esmeralda from the hunchback of notre dame.

Drawing definitely does not come naturally to me, I enjoy it only moderately, and I don’t think it will help me advance my career.  So why do I do it?

  • Trying new things is humbling.  If all you do is what you’re really good at, you have every reason to believe that you’re just the greatest thing since sliced bread.  Trying something new might be a gentle reminder that you aren’t perfect, and it will open your eyes to the gifts that other people have (and you don’t). You might find yourself appreciating others’ talents more, bragging about your own talents less, and having more patience when someone isn’t catching on to a new skill as quickly as you’d like.
  • Trying new things is a test of perseverance.  It’s not very fun to fail or to have poor results from something you’ve poured hours of hard work into.  This is especially true when you don’t have a strong motivation to try again.  I’m not saying you should waste days at a time on a completely purposeless hobby, but there is something to be said for making a real effort when you can’t see the point.
  • You might surprise yourself.  Everyone’s heard a form of this statement in some context, but it still rings true.  Try something and you just might like it more than you thought.  Even better, you might be surprised at how much effort you put in, how well you used your resources, how well you stuck to a goal, or how quickly you acquired a new skill.

Why not try it?  Choose an unfamiliar hobby that will fit into your lifestyle without too much expense or inconvenience.  Set a specific goal and a time limit for how long you will try the hobby before evaluating your progress and whether you want to continue.  Notice how you feel about yourself and about others, and keep track whenever you observe a positive change!

What hobby will you try?


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