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Hobbies and interests are part of what makes life enjoyable. Taking a liking to an activity or group function can add value to your life in a multitude of ways including improving mental and physical health, enhancing personal fulfillment, and even benefiting your career. Here we’re sharing some surprising ways basic hobbies can positively impact you and your career success.
Why have a hobby
In its most basic sense, a hobby is an activity done on a regular occurrence, particularly during one’s leisure time, purely for pleasure. Whether you have discovered your hobby as a child or just recently discovered a new interest, finding a hobby that you can consistently partake in and enjoy can carry a plethora of benefits. Ranging from physical and mental health to overall quality of life and even workplace success; hobbies provide more than just an activity. A study by Kevin Eschleman found that hobbies provide a variety of benefits that extend into the workplace, improving things like stress relief, creativity, networking abilities, confidence, critical thinking, and work ethic. The study also found, interestingly enough, that the less relevant an activity is to a person’s profession, the greater the impact on workplace performance.
Which hobbies provide which benefits
Research suggests, up to 95% of Fortune 500 CEOs played college sports, many of which also remain active in their respective sports today. Regardless of which sport you pick up, there are commonalities in the lessons and values you develop through the experience, including:
Determination: Athletes maintain a strong desire to succeed despite obstacles.
Teamwork: Athletes understand the importance of a team when working towards a goal.
Perform under pressure: Athletes know how to cope with stress and pressure in order to not let it affect their performance.
Agile leaders: Athletes are comfortable adapting to continuously improve both their personal performance and their team’s performance.
Finding a sports-related hobby can significantly improve your physical health as well as your workplace performance. The skills and work ethic developed in athletic pastimes are invaluable in an office setting, particularly in leadership roles. As CEO of Oracle and former college tennis star, Mark Hurd has stated, “Tennis is like being CEO. You can’t call time out, you can’t bring in a substitute. You have got to go out every day and you’ve got to perform. It’s just like the business world.”
Musical hobbies are commonly known for their many intellectual benefits. Learning to play a musical instrument, for example, can help you develop skills that align closely with success factors both in academia and in the workplace. According to the American Journal of Public Health, learning to play an instrument helps to manage stress, improve cognitive function and confidence, develop listening skills, and boost memory. Billionaire CEO, Warren Buffet is well known for his fondness of the ukulele, a hobby he’s maintained since his youth. Having an outlet to unwind with can help to maintain positive mental health and reduce stress. Additionally, despite the common belief that musical talent is something only to be developed as a child, cognitive research suggests you can learn to play a new instrument at any age. Notable benefits of musical hobbies include:
Strong memory: Music exercises the brain, boosting mental sharpness and increasing memory function.
Confidence: Developing a new skill that you can present to others can help improve self-esteem which will shine through in other areas of work.
Brain function: Nearly every part of the brain is engaged while playing an instrument, translating to easier navigation of workplace scenarios.
Research shows that those who are more creative are 16% more innovative. To tap into that innovation, we suggest creativity inducing hobbies. Painting, for example, is easily attainable and offers a multitude of work-related benefits. Gosha Levochkin, artist and founder of Dirty Hands, an art teaching studio for grownups, dedicated his life to helping working professionals reap the benefits of creativity in life. Mental and physical benefits attributed to painting can help you succeed in your career. A few examples include:
Problem-solving: Painting allows you to open your mind and improve your ability to identify new perspectives and solutions.
Reduced stress: Painting can serve as a form of meditation to bring relaxation and mental clarity.
Motor skills: Painting encourages mobility in the hands and fingers and the fine motor skills painters develop can eventually become mental shortcuts the brain will implement in everyday life.
Emotional intelligence: Taking an active role in creating something like art can inspire you to bring new ideas to light and challenge yourself in new ways.
Finding joy in any hobby is a win in itself. However, if you’re looking to kill two birds with one stone, hobbies can help you advance in your career is the way to go. Just remember the underlying goal is to engage in something that allows you to disconnect from the stressors in your life and focus on what makes you happy. If that also means improved critical thinking, confidence, and leadership—all the better!
About the Author:
Maddie Davis is co-founder of Enlightened Digital.