Can Hobbies Reveal the Root of Purposelessness?!


shutterstock_122062090In having so many conversations with college students and young professionals, I may have stumbled upon a connection between hobbies and purpose.  Those who are incredibly focused on a specific hobby and have the attention and ability to quickly become “the best” in it have also tended to be the very same people who commit the same kind of focus to one major and/or one career.  Nothing stands in the way of them accomplishing their goals, mastery in that hobby, or claiming that career… Not even their purpose in life!

You may even be rolling your eyes and disregarding me now saying, “Hard work gets you places, Mitch!”  This is true… but does it get you where you are supposed to go?  Not necessarily.  Hard work is invaluable and a building block of America, but there’s nothing inherently directional about it.  Direction comes from purpose.  Your purpose may be wealth and if so, then it’s right to pursue that corporate climb.  However, I would be inclined to believe that in the current state of our culture that money will almost always be number two to joy and fulfillment.

In rare occasions some people do find the proverbial pot of gold and actually have the luck or clairvoyance to head in the right direction and to do the thing they love and will live happily ever after.  However, the two more common scenarios are… 5-10 years into it they realize they don’t like their career (or that hobby) in which they’ve poured time and money into pursuing, OR over time they become so fixated on the money or accolades that those things themselves become their newly acquired purpose by default instead of by intentional pursuit.  In either case, the joy dwindles and the discomfort grows into frustration and pain, and it’s at this point that one is forced to either “start over” or continue to mask their purposelessness with the drug of wealth, fame, and affirmation.

The flip side to this way of life is that of the Transient… The one wandering from hobby to hobby, major to major, or career to career.  They are still perhaps frustrated in that they are not sure where they will land, but content knowing they are committed to their personal pursuit of purpose in life.  You may even find this person to be mediocre (at best) in most things or have a target on their back for those “You have to commit…!” advisors in their life.  However, because of their unrelenting commitment to discovering their purpose in life, they will be the ones who find it.  Then they will not only obtain the joy that comes with living in their purpose, they’ll be free to begin specializing passionately and unhindered in this area of their life… finally, becoming “the best,” except for them, it will be in their life calling and purpose.

One very important thing to add and leave you with… this person is still a Transient at heart, so even within the fences of their newly found purpose, they will find their way to new and greater places in this purpose unseen and unexplored territory.  This wanderer will eventually be able to smash through these fences because they have an unobstructed view of their purpose, their direction in life, and they can run to it!  They become the pioneers in this life we share together.  Transients take heart and be courageous!