Obsessive validation

Obsessive validation

October 10, 2021

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by Trey Nosrac

“I was talking to my pal Shoes about hobbies.” (https://harnessracingupdate.com/breaking-stride/)

“He’s the big bushy guy who restores old cars?”

“Yeah. We decided you need a hobby, something besides watching your stock dividends soar to ridiculous heights.”

He said, “I have a hobby. I told you before. I collect old books.”

“Oh yeah, but you aren’t deep into the weeds. You dabble. You don’t go overboard.”

“That’s true. I’m not uber passionate like you are with harness racing.”

I sighed. “What’s with this uber talk? Everything is uber, uber eats, uber stocks, uber drivers, uber freight?”

He said, “It’s a German word that means over or above. If you write the word uber in German, you should spell it with an umlaut over the U.”

“Well, Trey is getting annoyed with the word uber, and you can underline the word annoyed with a crayon.”

He smiled, “Most people aren’t outrageously passionate concerning their pastimes or hobbies.”

I was quiet for a while and then asked, “It’s interesting how some people go deep, and others just splash in the shallow water.”

He thought for a moment and then surprised me when he dropped a bomb, “After my divorce, I was in a bad place mentally and began regular sessions with a therapist. The tech company had a psychotherapist with her office on the campus. She suggested I find an outlet or a hobby that was not related to business. She said studies show that cultivating a hobby and becoming immersed in the hobby is beneficial.”

“Makes sense to me, Bill Gates took up bridge. Man, think where we would be with him as a racehorse fanatic.”

He continued, “Psychologists from San Francisco State University examined professionals and learned that those with a creative passion were noticeably better at their jobs.”

“Why? How does that help work performance?”

“Serious hobbies increase confidence. A British study did not just ask people IF they had a hobby. Instead, they asked how deeply they were involved in the pastime. They discovered that the more intensely people pursued a hobby, the more confident they felt about overcoming challenges in their lives. Serious hobbyists have more resiliency.”

I chuckled, “If they take up harness racing, resilience is going to come in handy.”

“Duke psychologist Patrician Linville reports that the benefits of having a significant hobby go deeper than you may imagine. A passionate pastime adds another identity to your portfolio of selves. When faced with a setback in one area — people have others that make them feel good, that can nourish self-esteem.”

“Hey pal, Trey does not need a study. I got more hobbies and esteem than warranted. YOU are the one who needs to take up a sport and blow some of your cash. I have suggested harness racing to you for five years.”

He nodded. “Actually, science indicates that having a passion like yours boosts brainpower. You and your harness racing friends immersed are probably smarter, thanks to your passion.”

“I told you! My gang at the hub rail are possibly MENSA material.”

“Don’t get carried away.” He paused and said, “My therapist was big on a theory called mindfulness meditation.”

“Where you sit on the floor, cross your legs, and chant?”

“No, no, I could never get into that type of meditation. However, my therapist said that in many respects, when a hobby like yours reaches a certain depth, it becomes a mindfulness practice, a good substitute for people who find sitting still and meditating difficult. Data shows that people with these hobby-like outlets have greater focus, less stress, and are nicer.”

“Why didn’t you listen to her advice?” I asked.

He sighed. “I did purchase a few rare books.”

I blew him a raspberry. “That ain’t no passion. Those were a few transactions. You gotta go deep to feel the magic. You gotta get in the zone where the learning and the hobby sink into your bones. Do something new. Write a play, take up the tuba, join a reggae band, dig into your family genealogy, whatever. Be creative.”

“Finding a passion is not organic. You can’t force yourself to love someone or something. It’s not that easy for certain personality types.”

“Come on. It is easy. Just take a few steps down a new road. Swallow your pride and jump into a pool and see if it sticks. Look at me. I already have four bad habits, harness racing, baseball, snooker, and looking for the next one and only. I have about six more goofy activities that rev me up. I can loan you a few.”

“Maybe I will look deeper into the world of rare book collecting, go a little deeper, let myself go.”

I gave him a thumbs-up, “Now you’re talking. And if you can’t get fired up with the old book collecting thing, harness horse racing is just a call away. Falling in love with a sport or an activity is good medicine, and that’s a fact, Jack.”

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