Interests and hobbies. Are they two different things?
They definitely can be. I can have an interest in robots that extends about as far as watching early ‘Robot Wars’ series on catch up, but I wouldn’t go so far as to call roboteering my hobby.
Our interests and hobbies can and often do overlap. The main difference is that interests can be very loose and passive, whereas hobbies are more active and require that we actually do something with our life.
Having an ‘interest’ expresses a curiosity to know more, but does not necessarily imply that we do much about it. Having a hobby requires a certain amount of dedication and suggests that you regularly take time to learn, practice and integrate the activity into your life. Nourishing your hobbies can lead to a much more fulfilling life.
The key difference:
Interest = can be passive
Hobby = must be active
Hobbies Are Often Developed From Interests
If you’re like most of the world, then you only have a limited amount of spare time. It makes sense that not all of your interests make it into the more active realms of being your hobbies. Realistically, you have to be selective about the hobbies that you take up.
This is often about weighing up practical constraints like time and money against the level of interest that you have. There may also be other factors, such as health and risk. For example, I have an interest in boxing, but I don’t think I would ever make it my hobby!
Many hobbies are developed out of people’s main interests. As they find out more about their curiosities, they decide to pursue the activity for themselves. Someone with a strong interest in music may learn a musical instrument or build a related hobby such as music blogging. A person with an interest in sports or betting on football on Oddschecker may eventually learn and practice football.
In this way, interests and hobbies interact with each other. The strongest interests often develop into more active hobbies, which then become a regular part of a person’s week.
Transitioning From Interests To Hobbies
Transitioning from taking an interest in something, to taking it up as a hobby, means taking a more active approach and actually doing the activity. The first step is always to integrate the activity into your life. There will also be several other changes that are mentioned here:
Integrate Into Life
If you decide that you want to pursue an interest more actively, it’s always useful to think about the practicalities of integrating your new hobby into your life. Are there cooking classes close by that you could attend? How about a mountain for skiing or, failing that, a dry ski slope?
When will you find time and how will you practice your interest? You also need to think about the costs of your hobby. They don’t have to cost a fortune, but often hobbies require the purchase of at least basic equipment or payments to join classes. Can you get hold of the gear and resources needed?
Developing a hobby can often include enhancing your skill level. Not all hobbies involve competition, but most involve self betterment. Even if shooting arrows for fun, at least some of the fulfilment is in getting closer to the target.
Poker can be an interesting game to watch, but an active player really needs to get to grips with the game, from the basic rules to advanced decision making. If learning to ride a horse, you want to be able to stay on for both safety and enjoyment. Improving your skills is therefore a big part of the transition from interests to hobbies.
Hobbies can be solitary or they can be sociable. Some hobbies, like team sports or competitive games, require other people to join in. Others can be done alone, but you may still want to connect with others to share your thoughts and experiences. Being part of a community can help to improve quality of life, and hobbies are a great way to connect with others.
Struggling For Inspiration?
If you are struggling for inspiration when it comes to finding new activities for a fulfilling life, remember the interaction between interests and hobbies. If you are lacking hobbies then you can start by finding new interests. Read around and watch documentaries and films, talk to people about what they enjoy and test the waters before diving in and taking up the hobby.
For example, if you watched the climbing documentary ‘Free Solo’ and enjoyed it, learn more about climbing. If your interest develops you can try it out for yourself at a local centre, and eventually it could become your new hobby.
It’s also interesting to think back to what you enjoyed when you were younger, either very young or just a few years or decades back before jobs and working life took over. What did you do in your spare time before any of that mattered? Reclaim it!