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Brian Gates

Is it a mistake or organize your life around a hobby?

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Suppose you have a hobby or interest that stands out above anything else in your life, but which isn't necessarily a realistic or suitable career prospect. Examples might be athletic activities, art, or music. Would it be a mistake to organize your life around such a pursuit as opposed to a productive career? I suppose it might be a false alternative to suggest that you could only enjoy your hobby or have a career, but suppose you had to take a lot of time and energy away from your work to dedicate it toward your hobby. What would you say?

Edited by Brian Gates

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Pursuing values is a relativistic affair, you have to continually weigh the pros and cons. In this context I think the effects on your financial situation and interpersonal relationships would be the key to analyse though depending on the nature of the hobby there may be other factors you need to weigh.

The way that calculus works out is the rationality of your decision.

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One has to rationally decide what to pursue and explore.

Regardless, one owns one's life. If the fruit of your productive work is enjoyed in the hobby, that's something that the individual has to decide whether to do or not. Having spent a long time away from home doing a hobby that became a partial career, I wouldn't have traded it for what some of the other people that I grew up with did during the same time. But it is a personal decision.

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Instead of creating a new topic I thought I would ask the question in here since it is related.

It’s probably not the smartest thing to organize your life around a lover, but how do you keep them in context of all your other values? I seem to be the most happiest when I'm spending time with my girlfriend rather then working (who would have thought), so how do you not allow that person to consume your time and become the center of your life? I seem to derive more happiness from my relationship then from my job, so shouldn’t it become a higher value?

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<snip> I seem to be the most happiest when I'm spending time with my girlfriend rather then working (who would have thought), so how do you not allow that person to consume your time and become the center of your life? I seem to derive more happiness from my relationship then from my job, so shouldn’t it become a higher value?

You must look at your values objectively, within the context of everything you know about reality.

For instance, say you were to devote your life entirely to your relationship with your girlfriend. Would the loss of income mean you would have to stop eating? If so, that's obviously not a rational choice. Would your girlfriend be up to such sustained, long-term focus? Would you and she both be satisfied with you not working and her (or any other spouse) being the sole income?

The outcome of this value-evaluating process is not pre-determined. In relationships where one partner makes enough money, it is entirely possible for the other partner to reshuffle their values to reflect their new financial freedom.

As far as focusing on work as well as your girlfriend, people must often focus on our #2 and #3 values in support of #1. In the long term, I'd think it would be normal for your relationship to be a higher value than this particular job. People typically change careers several times, but relationships can last a lifetime.

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I seem to derive more happiness from my relationship then from my job, so shouldn’t it become a higher value?

No, neither a hobby nor a girlfriend should become an obstacle in front of your career. You should choose and pursue something that sustains and fulfills you, and allows you to achieve your full potential. That something cannot be a relationship or a hobby (an activity which is by definition not meant to be taken seriously), it has to be an actual career, a continuous quest for self-improvement and achievement in a productive field.

Even if you feel that reducing your life to being a partner to your girlfriend makes you happy (and let's say you can afford to do it), you should still have a far wider perspective, and decide your path in a rational, intellectual manner. The kind of decision-making that makes one look at what feels good in the moment and then proceed to do it is no way for a rational man to live by.

Edited by Jake_Ellison

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That something cannot be a relationship or a hobby (an activity which is by definition not meant to be taken seriously), it has to be an actual career, a continuous quest for self-improvement and achievement in a productive field.

This is not to say that your *career* is synonymous with your *job*. It is perfectly legitimate to have a job that pays the bills so you can pursue a career that doesn't, however, if you do this, be prepared for everyone to refer to your productive career as a "hobby".

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I guess it is a matter of opportunity cost and marginal utility. If your hobby is making pots, you can eek out a living selling them, how much time you should devote to this activity depends on the opportunity cost - what would you have to give up in order to live that life? If you are only capable of a min. wage job, then you can probably spend a lot of time making pots and it will make you happier and you will be more productive than cleaning puke day after day. If, however, you are capable of running a huge corporation and making millions, you will probably be happier and much more productive if you are just making pots in your spare time.

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To me the key lies on the title of your thread.

If you can organize youu life around a hobby, that is just great! It is organized!

To get "organized" entails giving everything in your life a place, a time, and the proper links to the rest of the activities or aspects so that they support each other.

If the time devoted to productive work, excercise, relaxation, interaction with your beloved ones, navigation through the Objectivist On-line forum (ooops!) allows you to have enough time for your hobby and this schedule seems to be self-sustaining (meaning, that you won't have to spend later more time trying to recover your health, your social bonds or your financial situation) you are all set.

So it is not a matter of how many hours you dedicate to certain activity, but rather how that time spent in that activity allows you to do other activities , and how the sum of all activities are making of you, in the long term, a better person, a person that can be truly proud of what he has done. A person that can truly say he is happy.

Edited by Hotu Matua

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Not necessarily. Suppose one's hobby is also his business?

Bob Kolker

You want me to pretend that running a business can be called a hobby? Sure, as long a you admit that your post is a tasty burger, and let me have a bite. Then, I can ask you whether you mind if I have some of your tasty beverage to wash it down, and now we're in a movie and I'm quoting Scripture while shooting people.

Edited by Jake_Ellison

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You want me to pretend that running a business can be called a hobby?

Perhaps it would be more accurate to say "a hobby that became a business". Look at people like Chip Foose, or pilots, or philosophers, people that would be doing what theyre doing whether getting paid for it or not. Isnt that the goal? Find something you are passionate about and make a careeer of it. Thats what it said on those stupid middle school career identifier charts anyway. (I always picked the one with the highest salary, whether I was interested or not.) :D

j..

Edited by JayR

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It depends on what your issues are.

Some of us are compulsive underearners and organizations like Underearners Anonymous (a nonprofit) can help us with living life closer to our dreams (but without the horrible poverty).

Debtors Anonymous is great with this too (you can Google them, they are both nonprofits-- nothing for sale here).

Suppose you have a hobby or interest that stands out above anything else in your life, but which isn't necessarily a realistic or suitable career prospect. Examples might be athletic activities, art, or music. Would it be a mistake to organize your life around such a pursuit as opposed to a productive career? I suppose it might be a false alternative to suggest that you could only enjoy your hobby or have a career, but suppose you had to take a lot of time and energy away from your work to dedicate it toward your hobby. What would you say?
Edited by ClearThinking (Mostly)

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"If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you..." Kipling.

I say, go for it. Both the hobbyist and the lover are successful at finding enduring values. Yes, make whatever is most important to you the most important thing in your life! And be proud of doing so.

-- Mindy

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Suppose you have a hobby or interest that stands out above anything else in your life, but which isn't necessarily a realistic or suitable career prospect. Examples might be athletic activities, art, or music. Would it be a mistake to organize your life around such a pursuit as opposed to a productive career? I suppose it might be a false alternative to suggest that you could only enjoy your hobby or have a career, but suppose you had to take a lot of time and energy away from your work to dedicate it toward your hobby. What would you say?

I wrote this last year regarding observations of the difficulty many artists have in monetarily pursuing a living - and I think it pertains here, as even tho it speaks of artists, it applies across the board to any productive endeavor -

Remuneration...

While many of these examples given of various artists and their works show those who have made a financial success of trading their works, not all have - indeed, a number of highly creative artists never acquire the means of achieving their material well-being thru just their creativity... does this mean anything in the way of failure? no, because while the basic reason person need be productive is to meet the needs for material values, and normally this is thru trade as means of payment for the work - this is not always the case... money is not the only type of material value, and not all work that creates material value is well compensated in the market... thus a person may need be making the money at a less productive, relatively undemanding job, in order to enable the more rewarding and challenging and productive work - in this case being that of the artist... this is often, perhaps especially so, when the artist as creator has blazed a new direction in creating, showing work which requires more conscious attention to being appreciated, or appeals to a more selective set of viewers... this does not detract from it being productive work, only that the burden of being able to achieve the creating may be harder than otherwise, a situation which, to the creator having the success of the creating, is, relatively speaking, small and unimportant... it is the doing, the creating, the visualizing which is the productive and thus the important - and in that regard, the success of being...

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