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How much discipline is too much for a hobby?

April 21, 2014

One of the questions I have been struggling with for a long time is: With what level of discipline and determination should I approach my hobbies? On the one hand, intermittent practice and or study usually makes for poor results. On the other hand, this is supposed to be relaxing and fun. If you have a headache and really don’t feel like doing it, is it really relaxing? Is it fun? I think not.

So, how much is too much? How much is not enough? I have tried to take a Goldilocks approach now. Not too much, not too little: Just right.

If I feel energetic, I can play or study until I get tired. This is usually an hour to two hours. If I am “normal tired”, then I aim for a quality half an hour. If I am totally, utterly wiped out? Forget it. I probably would hate every second and not learn anything anyway.

I have been using this system when studying Italian and playing the drums, and it seems to be working. My next challenge is going to be to go back to studying Mandarin Chinese after I finish my Italian course. Why? Well, two reasons: One I already have a huge treasure trove of materials just sitting in my house and on my computer. They are free at this point. So I might as well put them to work. The other option would be to start Portuguese, but I don’t have much on that language, and I am scared to go to Brazil. I keep reading about all these awful stories people have of the crime there. Yeah, no thanks: I’m not ready for that.

Secondarily, I really enjoy the Chinese culture. It is a place I would love to visit again. Except this time, I could actually talk to people. I hope. So hey, let’s go back to Frustration Island, shall we? One of my best and worst character traits is I am incredibly stubborn. I just refuse to give up. This has helped me in many ways, and has been my downfall in others. But I just can’t help myself.

I plan on still revisiting Italian from time to time. It is a great language, and I enjoyed every minute of studying it. I can’t wait to go to Italy in the winter of 2015, which is our plan. In the meantime, back to more banging my head against the wall of Chinese…..

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3 Comments
  1. You have struggled with balancing your hobbies for a long time Hun. You get bored all too easy, instead of mastering what your current hobby is, then frustrate yourself when you can’t master a hobby. I hardly think you have mastered Italian in just a few short months. Not to the level you speak Spanish in. I personally think you should show sone self discipline and stick with one for a year. You struggle with making time for them as it is. Your work outs hurt you for days. It’s good that you are always looking to educate yourself more, but there’s a balance in doing so.

  2. Georgann Greene permalink

    Your wife speaks wisdom. Please listen to her.

    Love, Mom

  3. I have been persuaded. I will stick with mastering Italian, at least for now.

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