Hobby is Not a Dirty Word

You know the word Hustle has reached the zeitgeist when you see a hustle sticker on the back of a beat-up Ford pickup truck.

There’s a hilariously poignant chapter in Austin Kleon’s book, Keep Going, on the topic of hobbies and how we (and our society) tends to turn our passions we love into jobs we hate:

“The minute anybody shows any talent for anything, we suggest they turn it into a profession. This is our best compliment: telling somebody they’re so good at what they love to do they could make money at it. We used to have hobbies; now we have ‘side hustles.’ … One of the easiest way to hate something you love is to turn it into your job: taking the thing that keeps you alive spiritually and turning it into the thing that keeps you alive literally.”

There’s a fine line between a hobby and work.

A hobby is something you do for the shear joy of it. It’s an activity that’s new and challenging you are learning and figuring out and something that makes you feel alive. Sometimes your hobby might make you some money.

The ideal form of work is something you do for the shear joy of it. It’s an activity that’s new and challenging you are learning and figuring out and something that makes you feel alive. Your work challenges you while at the same time enables or helps others. AND your work is paying for your living expenses (food, rent, water) and your bills. (That’s the ideal, most of us are working jobs we aren’t passionate about or down right hate because we need the money.)

It’s when you have to do your hobby in order to eat and continue living where you passion can quickly become a nightmare. In addition to living, your hobby-turned-job has turned from a stress-reliever into a stress-producer. Also, it’s often the case that you are spending less and less time doing the actually thing you love to do — writing, painting, woodcraft, etc — and more time doing the day to day business dregs, such as accounting, email and meetings.

When all your hobbies feel like jobs and you have no pure creative outlets, you can quickly burn yourself out. (And in the past, I’ve done exactly this. It’s no bueno.)

Austin solution (which I agree with) is to make sure there’s at least some part of what you love to do that’s off-limits to selling. “Some little piece that you keep for yourself.”

Not everything we do needs to be a hustle. Having hobbies are good. They energize us and open us up to be more creative. Delineate what you want to be a hobby and what you want to be work. Or at least delineate aspects of your work that’s off-limits to monetization.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #662

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