Finding a hobby and learning to love it is an odd process.
Take “web development” for example (quotes because I can’t call myself a web dev).
I used to think web development was a hobby of mine but I’ve only recently realized that it really isn’t so. What happened?
I first built my first website on Tripod in 7th or 8th grade as a project in some computer class.
The topic of building websites has been untouched til the age of 16; my friend was really hyped about making websites since he earned his first few dollars from a celebrity fan site he created.
Naturally I started picking things up from him and it was purely for fun.
Learning how to program (albeit it was just HTML) was fun – and felt rewarding when I received my first check from Google for ~$100 via AdSense. The feeling simply isn’t there now.
Part I: Accepting what is a hobby and what isn’t
After a while, the focus switched to a money earning prospect.
It wasn’t a hobby anymore and still isn’t – but I’m only truly accepting that today as I type it out.
When I made websites, I had the most fun when I didn’t think about how much money I could earn.
When I start thinking about money, I lose interest.
This is a trap that I’ve fallen into the past six years.
Instead of taking it purely as a hobby, I started building websites with the mentality of making money first.
Here’s a truth I have to face: all websites I’ve made in the past six years (outside of my office job) failed.
On the other hand, all websites I’ve created before this “slump” turned great profits.
Sure, the markets have changed and ranking sites have gotten difficult, but my history shows I can make a shit ton of money (for my bosses).
I think the most important thing that changed is me and my outlook on treating my hobby as a money making machine.
I keep chasing after money and when I don’t see an immediate success (which has NO place in SEO), I lose interest.
How do I learn to love my hobby again?
Part II: A successful hobby needs…
I found a hobby that I fell in love with after moving to Tallinn: table tennis.
I played a few games back in U.S. but it wasn’t something on my radar at the time.
And back then I was quite introverted and hated going out.
Through this one hobby I feel like a different person.
Nowadays, I look forward to going out. I get to see friends and play table tennis at a not-so-shit level.
And I love every moment of it – even when I lose.
So what makes table tennis a good hobby (for me)?
- I don’t expect to make money from it.
- I see progress when I play – win or lose.
- I have fun with friends.
When you don’t feel the immense pressure that the world is putting on your shoulders…
When you can be yourself without worries…
When you truly enjoy spending every second doing what you’re doing…
And when you’re really living in that moment…
That’s when you know you have a hobby that you love.
…Or an addiction. But who’s to say that the two aren’t mutually exclusive?
Part III: Something you love is addictive
What I’m trying to say is…
One of the key ingredients in making progress is addiction.
Every little thing that you’ve had success with in life required passion and/or addiction.
When you have a hobby, the number one goal is to enjoy it.
Maybe you’ll find yourself addicted by it in the process.
Side note to myself on making websites
If you want to make money, then clearly define what your business goals are and what you’re willing to do/sacrifice to meet them.
Your hobby isn’t a business unless you start treating it like a business. So enjoy it!