I don’t know about you, but the better I become at something, the less fun I have doing it.
It’s kind of like being born. It’s all fun and games until you learn how to walk and talk. Suddenly there is a need to compete. Whether it be at school, sports or just being the favorite child.
Whether the pressure is coming from yourself, your parents, or society’s standards, really doesn’t matter.
You just have to be good.
Maybe this ist the over-achiever in me talking, but I have noticed this phenomenon in other people too. When it comes to hobbies, people are either “talented” or they “don’t find the time”. There’s nothing in between.
Sure, a lot of people do things just for fun. But being good at something usually makes things more fun, to begin with. And trying to get better at something, can be really motivating as well.
But what if you just want to have fun doing something, without the pressure of getting better?
Adult hobbies — aka “skills”
Most of the people I know have hobbies they grew up with. If you like drawing, chances are you liked drawing when you were young as well.
But what if you want to learn something as an adult?
Maybe this is just me, but often times when I think about starting a new hobby, it’s not quite as easy as it was as a child.
You don’t just start a new hobby. You acquire a new skill.
Acquiring a skill can be a lot of fun, in of itself. But sticking to it almost always depends on whether or not you get better at it. It has to be worth the time. And time, as we all know, really has become money. Especially with the rise of side hustles.
And even if you don’t intend to make money with it, it becomes more and more difficult to just make the time for it. Most people with full-time jobs, just want to relax in their spare-time, and sometimes practicing the guitar, is not as relaxing as drinking a glass of wine and listening to the white noise of a show you’ve watched 3 times in a row.
We’re simply too busy to make time for something that does not have a great Return On Investment.
Choosing a hobby
Let’s be honest, when choosing a hobby, most of us would rather start with something they can see themselves getting good at. And most of the time, those things are similar to something you’re already good at.
For example, if you’re one of the people that like to draw, you probably wouldn’t have a hard time changing mediums. Instead of drawing with a pencil, why not try watercolor? Instead of watercolor, why not try digital art?
You get the feeling of accomplishment by putting in only half the work.
It’s easy. It’s nice.
But most of us wouldn’t think of say start doing ballet if we don’t even like dancing. And sure, it makes much more sense to do something that sounds fun to you, before you start doing it.
Sometimes the opposite can be fun as well, though.
The Art of failing
Let’s face it. Nobody likes to fail.
Even if we like to quote people saying you need to fail to be able to succeed, it’s not something we naturally like to do.
When we try things out, it almost always has a purpose. It’s either to learn something or to have fun. And most people would rather succeed than fail.
“Well”, you could be saying, “why should I want to fail on purpose? And even more important, why do it in my free time when that’s the time I’m supposed to feel good and relaxed? Failing’s not relaxing.”
And you’re right. But you’re also wrong.
When there are no stakes, failing can actually be pretty fun. It can even be funny. Best of all, not having to succeed gets rid of unnecessary pressure.
Personally, I have struggled a lot to stick with things I used to just do, for the fun of it. Without needing an added value.
I felt a lot of pressure to relax when I was really just pissed off, that I was slightly worse at doing something than the last time I did it. It just wasn’t healthy. And even though I really wanted to, I just couldn’t let go. I wanted to do well. I wanted to be able to show myself, even if I never would. I just wanted to be able to.
It made me miserable. So I stopped.
But you see, the problem wasn’t that I was trying to let go. The problem was that I was trying to let go of the wrong thing.
I started to notice something. Anytime I did something, that was so far from what I was good at, it became so much more fun to do.
I didn’t need to win, I didn’t need to be good, I didn’t need to show off. I just needed to do it. And that’s when I was able to let go.
Able to actually enjoy whatever I was doing.
Able to look stupid while doing it.
Able to just have fun and relax.
So if you’re struggling with finding a healthy balance between what’s supposed to be fun in your life and what you’re supposed to be good at, maybe just do something else.
Doesn’t mean you have to stop or give up. Maybe just means you should be spending more time doing something else.