One of the most aggravating questions I ever find myself being asked is, “What are your hobbies?” I think a better question would be, “What activity gives you the most personal satisfaction and why?” While it may seem like the second question is just a more eloquently phrased version of the first, it’s not.
The first question demands a blasé and superficial answer that employs listing a string of activities. For instance: Biking, walking, reading, listening to music. Rather than achieve a more comprehensive understanding of who you are as an individual, the inquirer will receive nothing more than a series of happy images of you performing the said activities.
It is for that singular reason that I despise the hobbies question. Giving us nothing more than a glance at a person’s interests and talents, the question essentially demands an answer framed in terse bullet points.
Now imagine being asked what activity gives you the most personal satisfaction and why. Well, that changes the nature of the question and the answer immensely and immediately.
“What activity gives you the most personal satisfaction?” That isn’t asking about something you do just to pass the time, a.k.a. browsing your Facebook newsfeed, taking selfies, playing Celebrity Crossword on your smartphone. No.
The question asks about an activity you perform that gives you a greater degree of personal fulfillment and happiness. An activity that makes you feel more complete and accomplished than anything you’ve ever done or intend to do.
Now if that activity just happens to be playing Celebrity Crossword on your smartphone, then who am I to judge you? Whatever brings you the most happiness and a veritable sense of purpose is indubitably worth doing!
So the next time someone asks you the dreaded Hobbies Question, try answering the Personal Satisfaction Question instead. I wouldn’t surprised if you or the inquirer learned something new about yourself.