We all love what we do, or at least we should. That’s why we can immerse ourselves in a particular activity, often skipping a meal without even realising it. Even when we are overworked, or not at our best for whatever reason, there’s still a possibility of striking gold purely based on our commitment. Practice makes perfect, especially the deliberate type. The more we practice, the better we get at it. Simples.
There is one downside to all that, and quite an important one at that. Repetition kills innovation. We start to do thing almost mechanically, without even giving it much thought. How many times have you been washing dishes and caught yourself thinking about something completely unrelated? It’s ok when it comes to washing up, but not so great in a creative process. We can fall back on old techniques or solutions, purely because they worked in the past thus playing it safe and not stepping out of our comfort zone. We deliberately choose the known outcome rather than venturing in search of the unusual solutions and keeping our creativity under the lid. The way to avoid such fall traps, we should introduce variations to our training. We learn that by introducing variations to our training methods can accelerate our learning ability to even twice as fast. Even small alterations in how we do things most of the time, or the way we approach them can benefit us immensely.
We can even go a step further by introducing a new skill to our arsenal. Cross training has become huge in sports in recent years. Sprinters have a go at football, football players at boxing. Boxers, on the other hand, can even practice golf. The number one reason for that is to prevent stagnation. We all hit a brick wall at some point in our personal growth or skill development, and, frankly, dipping our fingers on other field can help us overcome such blocks. By learning new skills, we allow our brains to create new neuron connections and gain more insights into problem solving that we can later apply in our own field.
I stand upon my desk to remind myself that we must constantly look at things in a different way.
– John Keating, Dead Poets Society (1989)
As you can see, a simple thing like keeping a hobby can go a long way and accelerate our main passion. It can also prevent stagnation or help to overcome one when stumbled upon. Choosing the new skill to learn should also be very simple. You probably know already what you are drawn to, it is just a matter of allowing yourself the time and space to practice it, even if it is just couple of hours a week. Piano lesson, drawing or acting class or even a mathematics course. The hobby you see, does not have to be only in the creative field. It is just a hobby after all and there should be absolutely no pressure of direction or achievement in one. Why not have a go at one?