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/ Overview / Blog / July 2018 / Finding new hobbies - using an interest checklist

Finding new hobbies - using an interest checklist

08 July 2018
How to find new hobbies or interests by self-mapping - using an interest checklist model

It is easy to think we don’t have enough time for hobbies. Yet some of history’s greatest achievers made time to fit them in. Winston Churchill wrote his first book during a 3 hour break while stationed in India. Instead of using the time to nap and play cards as his fellow cavalrymen did, he used those hours writing. It was this time investment that launched his literary career.

So how do we identify what we would like to do? Marlen komar suggests adapting your early interests into adult hobbies. “If it was tree climbing, maybe you can try wall climbing. If it was running through the backwoods of your house, try hiking”[1] she suggests. For me, an early zest for drawing dinosaurs has inspired me to return to drawing and painting and to attend a class every week where I can play around with pencils, charcoal, pastels and acrylics. Authors Richard Leider and David Shapiro, authors of Whistle While You Work take this idea of adapting your interests a step further and state that finding your vocation means finding the common thread in the things you love to do[2]. Some examples of these threads are:
  • Building things
  • Fixing things
  • Investigating things
  • Making connections
  • Building relationships
  • Creating dialogue
  • Healing wounds
  • Adding humour
  • Persuading people
  • Organizing things
  • Selling things
  • Doing the numbers
  • Resolving issues
  • Instructing others
  • Making deals
  • Designing things
  • Writing things
  • Seeing the big picture
  • Solving problems
Creating a list of this sort can be an excellent way of identifying what you are good at or might like to get involved in. Many hobbies involve a mixture of the above threads, and can help you zero in on your best options.

Exploring further what hobbies you may benefit from, it could be worth examining what you do during the daytime, and then doing something completely different for a hobby. Marie-Claire recently published a list of high achieving women who all had very different hobbies outside of their day jobs. Stephanie Szostak, star of Iron Man 3 enjoys golfing; Willa Holland, star of Arrow, plays the ukulele. “When I started” she notes, “I thought “I can’t do it. I have no hand-eye coordination. Then I realised, any human can pick up the ukulele. The kind I bought…came with a booklet of chords. I learned those, then and there.” Finally, Christa Allen, star of ABC’s Revenge, saw an opportunity for floral design and became hooked on flower arranging after visiting a floral market in downtown LA[3]

For those not in the celebrity arena and who spend the majority of time in an office environment, working with our hands is something we should consider. Matthew Crawford, PhD, author of The Case For Working With Your Hands: Or Why Office Work Is Bad For Us And Fixing Things Feels Good went from completing a doctorate in political philosophy and running a think tank, to a motorbike repair shop. He argues that skilled trades such as car repair, plumbing, carpentry, electrical work and stonemasonry, “offer a way of thinking about life, and relating to the world that we could all do with adopting”.[4] Working with our hands has long been recognized as a productive pastime. Staint Paul in his letter to the Thessalonians, advised people to “work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.”[5] Sound advice, given the current desire for many people to become more self-sufficient.
So to summarise, incorporating these techniques should help you discover your ideal hobby:
  • Examine your early childhood interests and adapt them into adult activities.
  • Find the common thread that links your skills and interests.
  • Identify what is missing from your daily routine, i.e. the opportunity to socialize, or using your hands in creative endeavors. So, make sure you try and take up a hobby using your hands, especially if you are deskbound all day and don’t have much opportunity to do something practical.
  • Take a leaf out of Winston Churchill’s daily routine and make the most of every opportunity to engage in your chosen hobby, as Christa Allen did. Who knows where it might lead?
Choosing the right hobby can make us well rounded and can identify skills we never knew we had. Here’s a basic interest checklist to get you started. What are you waiting for? Go explore!

Mark De-Fusco
Health and Wellbeing Adviser 
Work and Health programme – Home Counties

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