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The Importance of Trying New Activities

Up until a couple of years ago, I never really did much with my free time. Besides playing guitar, most of my hobbies and interests consisted of passive activities that didn’t involve much social interaction and didn’t challenge my comfort zones. These included reading, tracking the weather, watching baseball, and just browsing around on the internet.

After discovering self-improvement and realizing how much I was missing out on in life, I made it a priority to start engaging in new activities in an effort to expand my social circle and potentially discover new hobbies and passions. In the past two years, I’ve probably done more with my life than I had in the previous ten years.

While I still follow my passive hobbies, I also make time for more important activities that contribute to my personal development. In addition to going out on weekends into the nightlife scene to meet girls and build my social skills, I regularly attend a local Toastmasters club, improv classes, and Meetup groups that focus on public speaking, group discussion, and debate. In the interest of taking better care of my physical health, I include an exercise routine into my weekly schedule.

In the past couple years I have also traveled more with friends, including weekend trips to Baltimore and Atlantic City, and longer vacations to Las Vegas, New Orleans, and Cancun for Spring Break. I made a list of new physical activities that I wanted to try, and have since tried rock climbing and ice skating. Although I found rock climbing quite intimidating, I would definitely try it again. Ultimately, I didn’t enjoy ice skating and decided it wasn’t for me, but I was still glad that I tried it. Now, I can cross that off my list and move on to other activities such as zip lining and snowboarding.

Developing hobbies, interests, and passions are a vital part of life because they allow us to explore ourselves and take part in enjoyable activities that provide an escape from the daily grind of work or school.

From a social standpoint, it is important to develop hobbies, interests, and passions because it will make you more interesting, give you more to talk about, and enable you to more easily meet new people and expand your social circle. Being more interesting and having more to talk about will increase your social value, thus making it easier to attract a girlfriend.

Essentially, having hobbies and passions will enable you to feel “complete” without that special someone in your life, so you won’t feel the need to rely on a girl for true happiness. Rather, you will already feel content with yourself because you can engage in enjoyable activities that you gain fulfillment from.

In general, hobbies keep you busy with more productive activities rather than wasting time on unhealthy ones such as playing video games or watching TV for hours a day. Hobbies also take the focus away from anxiety, depression, OCD, and other negative thoughts and behaviors that can arise during prolonged periods of boredom.

Trying new activities may lead to uncovering a new hidden interest. It also helps develop the skills of risk-taking and spontaneity. Overly anxious and fearful people will often shy away from activities that they have never tried before because they imagine them as too difficult and challenging. They might hold back out of fear of something bad happening, getting injured, or screwing up and embarrassing themselves in front of others.

In my opinion, social leisure activities are the most valuable because you can kill multiple birds with one stone. In addition to providing an environment to meet new people, improv will help you improve your social and communication skills, increase your comfort with being put on the spot and being the center of attention, and build spontaneity and creativity. Toastmasters is a great organization full of positive and supportive people that will help you cultivate your public speaking and leadership skills.

Engaging in adrenaline-releasing physical activities such as rock climbing will help put your fears and anxieties in perspective. Pushing your body to its limits and putting yourself in physical danger will most likely act to reduce social anxiety and anxiety associated with other lower priority things. Rock climbing for the first time was definitely scary for me, and I felt drained afterwards, but it put things in perspective. If I can handle being 25 feet off the ground, relying only on a harness, my friend’s ability to hold the rope, and my ability to grip the stones of a cliff with my hands and feet, then approaching girls or speaking in front of a crowd isn’t such big deal!

Trying new activities is like a positive feedback cycle because it expands your comfort zones and erodes fears of failure or embarrassment. As a result, the more new activities you try, the more likely you are to try other new activities in the future.

However, it’s important not to throw yourself into the scariest scene imaginable, since it might be too much to handle at once. If you have a fear of heights, going right to skydiving or bungee jumping might not be a good idea. Instead, start with something smaller like ziplining or rock climbing and gradually increase the frequency and magnitude of the challenge.

I can’t say which hobbies will fit you best, because it depends on a number of different factors, and only you can discover your interests and passions. The point is to try a bunch and then stick to the ones that you enjoy the most, while of course still being open to other activities you haven’t tried yet! The list of activities below is certainly not all-inclusive, but rather is meant to spur some ideas. Research different activities on the internet, make a list of the ones that appeal to you, and then start including them in your schedule on a regular basis.

Here are some suggestions for new activities to put on your to-do list:

Creative Activities:

  • Writing
  • Musical instrument
  • Singing, rapping
  • Dancing
  • Drawing, painting, sculpting

Physical Activities:

  • Rock climbing
  • Ice skating
  • Skiing, snowboarding
  • Ziplining
  • Skydiving, bungee jumping
  • Shooting
  • Boating, sailing
  • Snorkeling, scuba diving

Social Activities:

  • Public speaking
  • Improv
  • Standup comedy
  • Karaoke

Having at least one hobby in each of the three areas (creative, physical, social) will help you craft a more balanced and well-rounded life. After discovering new interests and passions to engage in, you will feel more fulfilled and confident and experience less boredom and rumination.

What new activity are you looking forward to trying out?

Mike

Mike

Mike is a 2014 Craft of Charisma intern.

2 Comments

  1. October 16, 2014 at 6:51 pm

    Solid advice. I started taking improv classes this year. Although I started it purely for personal development reasons (e.g. becoming a better listener, dealing with being put on the spot) I wound up loving it. I’ve even made a few new friends which is always awesome. I think I’d like to try rock climbing next.

  2. October 20, 2014 at 10:31 am

    Awesome! I went to a place in Long Island to do rock climbing, but it looks like there’s several indoor places in the city to choose from.

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