Monday, September 22, 2008

Why have a hobby?

People act for two fundamental reasons: to acquire pleasure and to avoid pain. These are the fundamental motivating forces within every sentient being. Among human beings, there are four core needs that must also be addressed. A good hobby will provide a sense of fulfillment by attending to these needs, sometimes in ways that friends, relatives, career, or spouse cannot. Here are the basic needs that all people possess:

1. Certainty - People need to feel safe and to have some degree of predictability in their environment. Most hobbies are conducted in controlled environments with predetermined procedures. The hobbyist knows what to expect.

2. Uncertainty - Although we need security, we also need variety to spice up our lives. A good hobby has enough depth of subject matter that there is always more to discover.

3. Significance - Becoming master of a specific topic makes us stand out. It helps to build identity, e.g. "The Photographer Guy". Sharing this knowledge is even more rewarding.

4. Connectedness - Although we want to stand out, we also want to fit in. Hobby clubs and forums are a way of bonding with like-minded individuals.

Did you notice that these needs are in conflict with each other? This is why animals are simple and humans complex. So the next time someone behaves irrationally, try to figure out what need they think they are addressing. And if you are not getting maximum fulfillment from your present circumstances but can't seem to get around it, a new hobby may help fill in the gaps. Just make sure you don't spend too much time in "hobby-land" to compensate for "real-world" deficiencies.

1 comment:

mainlandgal said...

deep...profound...insightful...yet humorous in the end.