Hobbies make you better at your job.

First, you have to understand that this does not include all hobbies.  Some people are quick to tell you that watching football and drinking beer is their hobby. I’m sorry, but I have to say no to that in this context. I’ve also had to disallow binge-watching TV series or movies as well as sleeping.

Let me give you a couple of examples of hobbies that do fit: first music lessons or playing an instrument.  The novice musician is learning a new language comprised of notes, rests, phrasing, soloing, accompaniment, arranging, and so much more.

The time spent with a teacher will start from the basics and gradually add layer upon layer of skill and understanding from their position as a novice to wherever their talent will take them.  They may become a teacher themselves or a professional in a group.  They may become a hobby player seeking relief from the tension and pressure of work or life’s activities. 

A musician’s path can have many destinations, but the road always has to be paved with hard work and practice.  The discipline to become a musician is a transferable skill that you can apply to your work life.  To become adept requires you to work with a teacher and further your study on your own and often with others. 

Another skill is being part of a team.  As a musician, you have to learn to play a supporting role as well as being the “star.” Understanding that sometimes your job is to support and enhance others’ efforts is another way to stand out from the crowd.  

Second: Martial Arts.  Please note I do not include the MMA styles where your goal is to knock someone into unconsciousness but the more traditional martial arts like those seen in the Olympics.  Don’t get me wrong, I respect the fitness and skill levels displayed by these athletes, but I wish to talk about the styles built upon respect and tradition.

As a new student, one of the first things you learn is to show respect to your instructors, honouring the time they have spent in the art and the fact that they are there helping you achieve your goals.  The next thing that you grow to appreciate is that repetition is the beginning of skill, and there are no shortcuts to mastery.  These two lessons are the most important things you learn.  Respect is not only for the instructors but for your fellow students as well.  If you are going to use someone else’s body to practice your techniques and allow them to practice on yours, you need to have mutual respect and honestly critique each other to improve your skills.  In a school, everyone is trying to improve.  All students with higher rank assist the newer students, and a bond is formed based on trust and working together.  I’ve only featured a few of the benefits of the right kind of hobbies and their long-lasting benefits to their practitioners. 

Rick is a Fifth Degree Black Belt student, former Martial Arts school owner, professional musician, and teacher.

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