Month: August 2021
Interests Lead to Skills
Skills relate directly to curiosity and interest. If you are interested in a subject, you will develop your knowledge and skills in it. You may not be the most skilled at it, but you will be more skilled than someone who has no interest in it. Your interest will help you learn the automatic skills involved in it. You know you are skilled at something when you do not have to think about it. The more you do it, the more complex your skills become. If you lose interest in a subject, you will eventually lose the skills involved in it.
People who are told what skills to develop without being interested in a subject will eventually lose the skill. You will forget things others force you to learn. Math is a subject in school most students find uninteresting. More students would be interested in math if it involved diverse subjects of interest to them. It will not interest students to learn about equations unrelated to their lives. Finding out the interests of the students will allow teachers to incorporate math into those interests. Math skills will become automatic to students only if they are interested in math. Making lessons interesting to all the students will raise their skills and build their interest to learn more.
Did curiosity kill the cat? Cats are much more focused on their environment than most humans, so curiosity has hardly ever killed a cat. We created the phrase to keep people from being too curious or asking questions. People who are not curious dislike learning. Cats are endlessly fascinating because they are endlessly curious. People who are curious are far more interesting than those who are not. Curiosity probably saved more cats than killed them. I am a cat person, which means I am interested in cats. Cats are safe around me because I am interested and aware of them just as much as they are interested and aware of me.
Some people have skills that develop into hobbies, and others use their skills in a career. Before you make your hobbies into a career, consider the interests of the employer. Do they want you for your skills or your future management potential? Management skills focus on dealing with people and handling problems. They make more money than most employees because they have more responsibilities. If you enjoy problem solving and the added responsibility, you may be happy as a manager. If you enjoy doing something you are skilled at, continue using those skills in your hobbies. Keeping your interest in life and being happy is more important than making more money.
People can be skilled at denying reality. This negative skill will not serve them well in life. Compulsive liars are skilled at lying, but they will quickly lie their way out of all their relationships. When you cannot trust others, you do not want them in your life. People who develop reality denying skills are avoiding specific realities. These skills become automatic. Alcoholics, drug addicts, abusers, molesters, thieves, and other people who go well beyond inappropriate behavior are skilled at justifying their behavior to themselves. They only regret their behavior when they get caught. It is best to avoid these people if you come across them.
Interests & Passions
You should always have multiple interests and passions. If you only have one passion in life, what happens when you lose interest in it? I have always had multiple interests. Some people told me I needed to focus on only one interest or I would not master it. If we master our passions, we will probably lose interest in them. Being interested in something is a never-ending process of discovery. Mastering something ends that discovery. If you are passionate about something, there is no mastery of it. When you think you have mastered it, you have merely lost interest in learning about it.
At various times in my life, I have been passionate about drawing, tigers, magic, animation, fantasy, music, acting, comedy, writing, juggling, riding a unicycle, editing, exercising, model trains, swimming, composing, atheism, and reality. This is not an exhaustive list of all my interests. I have moved on from many of these passions and have replaced them with other passions. One of my current passions is writing this book. By the time you read it, I will probably have moved on to something else. The day I stop seeking new interests and passions is the day I have given up on life.
Finding others who share your interests is an important part for making friends. We often choose our friends based on our common interests. People who find it difficult to socialize can use common interests as a bridge for communicating with others. They can focus on the interest and not themselves. Sometimes starting a conversation about your interests is enough to start a friendship. Even if you find you have little else in common with the other person, you have one thing connecting you to them. You may lose the friendship if your interest in the subject goes away. Your new interests will bring new friendships.
Over the next few weeks, I will present a 5 part series of articles about aspirations, interests, and goals and their effect on our health. They come from a chapter that I took out my book Reality Acceptance: For Happier and Healthier Lives. I removed them only to reduce the word count of the book, but am glad I can present them in this series of articles. If you enjoy them, please sign up for the Reality Acceptance newsletter here.
Having aspirations is important to your health. You are not taking an active role in your life if you do not aspire to future goals and interests. Just living life will not lead to a satisfying life. Many people regret not living true to themselves at the end of their life. Instead of pursuing interests, goals, or aspirations of their own, they allowed others to dictate how they lived their lives. Aspirations are just as important as any other healthy choices you make. A lack of aspirations will lower the quality of your life.
We ask kids what they want to do when they grow up. Most people forget these aspirational goals in adulthood. Our aspirations will change throughout our lives, but we should never stop having them. Becoming an adult does not mean the end of pursuing our interests and goals. We may need to change them to allow others to pursue their own aspirations, but we should never give up on them. Adults who abandon their aspirations are not just abandoning their childhoods, they are abandoning a happy and healthy life.
Many people confuse needing something with wanting something. A need for something implies an untold consequence will befall you if you do not get it. A want is something you desire, but it will only disappoint you to not have it. Breathing is a need, but ice cream is a want. You will not lose weight unless you tell yourself you need to lose weight. There is no weight loss fairy to grant your weight loss wishes. You must turn your wants to needs and accept the reality of what you need to do. We do not want to pursue our aspirations; we need to pursue them.