I'm a big booster on the idea that you can use your hobbies to learn something – practice your accounting helping out a local con, practice your HTML making a website, practice your writing doing anime reviews. Hobbies are a great way to gain and improve skills.
However there's another thing hobbies do for our skill improvement that makes them even more valuable – they provide a kind of mental and emotional buffer to the stress of learning. This is very useful if you've got a lot of stress to deal with or had some negative experiences with training or education
Learning can be stressful for a few reasons:
- The inevitable failures you have to make to learn can be irritating and humiliating.
- The limited abilities you have starting out can be daunting.
- The grind of learning can be, frankly, boring.
That's why learning within your hobbies, even supposedly boring skills, is helpful. Learning while having fun takes these edges off.
Failing is a lot easier when surrounded by understanding friends while you're having fun.
The limits you face in learning are less daunting when you're having fun – you may not take them too seriously.
The grind of learning is a lot less, well, grindy, when you're doing it when you enjoy something. Sure it may take just as long, but it will be easier when you're enjoying yourself.
Learning is challenging. Doing it through your hobbies or with your hobbies can take the edges off – and you'll probably learn faster as well.
– Steven Savage