That’s one way to pursue your passion

Amid all the FOMO (Fear of missing out) created by social media and influencers all around the world, we are getting lost in the cacophony of what others are doing and how much others are earning. The “comparison trend” is ruining our chance of exploring ourselves, who we are, what we like and want in life. Is that the life we want to lead… mimicking others? As we grow up, we are told to get good grades and then good jobs. Our hobbies and interests soon start to fade away. Our vigor to pursue new things that don’t directly relate to academics and our professions reduces eventually. We say to ourselves “it’s just a hobby”, “it’s not paying me” “it’s extracurricular and are for kids” “act like a grown-up”… our mind and people around us give us hundred of excuses why we should not pursue our hobby or explore our interests.

These 3 reasons will tell you why you should not stop learning new things irrespective of your age.

  1. Learning for the sake of learning can in itself be a rewarding experience: Many studies have shown that the happiness we feel after getting a promotion and a hike usually fades away within a week, but the joy of learning a new skill could be there for a longer period. It boosts your confidence, increases your sense of worth, helps in attaining a more satisfying personal life, and makes you more adaptable to changes and new challenges. Apart from all this, it reduces the external noise and enables you to understand more about who you are.
  2. Can make you stand out in the crowd: No matter where you are, already employed or looking for a job, learning new skills could add more value to your profile. Everybody applying for the job will have a degree, but an additional passion or interest could make you stand out. It shows that you were not just inside the academic books, you have life skills, you are motivated to learn, and have a more holistic approach to life. Employers admire people with exposure as even non-professional learnings have transferable skills that demonstrate your abilities. For example- personal motivation, time management, listening skills, communication skills, leadership, and team-work.
  3. Can lead you to find your passion: Simon Sinek, a professional coach, has emphasized the fact that passion is not an input, it’s an output. Passion is not what you are born with but you experience it while doing a task that you personally connect with, that adds value to your life and to others. If you do not explore new things in different fields, you are depriving yourself of finding that thing that might instill passion in you. Ameya Deshpande, an Investment Banker for seven years, developed an interest in cooking which eventually turned into his passion. He is now the co-founder of Authenticook. There are many such examples where people pursued their passion while working and found a job that they love to do.

The benefit of lifelong learning is immense and indescribable. You need to try and experience it on your own. Take some time out, reflect a bit on things you enjoy doing, narrow it down, and begin. How to begin? Go to, look for the skill you are interested in, and enroll. You will get the best mentors who will support you and teach you music, painting, writing, chess, yoga, meditation, cooking, puppetry… basically anything you could think of. Yes, it’s that easy!

How Extracurricular Learning Could Benefit You?

Remember Walt Disney? He wanted to join the Navy but he was rejected. Then he joined Red Cross and went to Germany. He came back to the US in 1919 and finally got a chance to work with an ad company.
But all this while he was drawing. He was a young boy when he sold his first drawing of a neighbor’s horse. Then, it was just a drawing, something he used to do in his leisure time. At that time he didn’t know that this extra-curricular hobby will become his passion, following which he will create the most watched and loved character- Micky Mouse!

An extracurricular activity that Walt Disney learned during his free time turned to a passion. The consistency and persuasion led him to success. But that’s not the only reason why everyone should engage in extracurricular activities.
These are the 4 more reasons why one should consider investing time in extracurricular and non-academic learning.

  1. Improve your academic performance: Often people think that engaging in non-academic activities like playing a musical instrument or drawing and sketching could distract them from their studies. However, a study by the U. S. Department of Education revealed that students who participate in extracurricular activities are three times more to perform better than students who do not participate in extracurricular activities. It expands their interest, challenges them to learn new things, and teaches them how to enjoy work. Love for learning eventually spills into other areas of life and increases their academic performance.
  2. Expand your interest: When a person is learning to play chess, she is not just learning a game, she is interacting with people, learning about the history of the game, countries, players, tournaments. She is getting aware of different cultures and opportunities that the world has to offer. Importantly, she is learning to perform, give her best, and love what she does.
  3. Relief from stress: Not everyone is expressive and likes to share their problems with people. Extracurricular activities could help them in venting out, it also offers them to take off their mind from stressful subjects and give them space where they can be themselves. This leisure activity can help in bringing perspective. It provides a slice of work-free and responsibility-free time in your schedule.
    This can be especially welcome for people who feel overwhelmed by all that they have to do and need to recharge their batteries by doing something they enjoy.
  4. Reduce Mental Health Issues: Mental health issues among students as well as adults have seen a spike during the lockdown. Online classes and work have taken a toll on our health and have limited our options. Extracurricular activities have always been recommended to people for improving mental health. Learning a new thing gives happiness, a sense of purpose, and gives the mind space to relax, unwind, and function without any pressure of deadlines or social expectations. Activities like cooking, painting, and playing instruments are seen as therapy, the cheapest ones!