Good Reasons Why You Should Have a Hobby


“There is no better deliverance from the world than through art; and a man can form no surer bond with it than through art.” – Goethe (Elective Affinities, 1809)

Winston Churchill, a very busy man, was a big fan of hobbies. “To be really happy,” he said, “one ought to have at least two or three hobbies.”

I agree completely. My hobbies include writing poetry, taking photos, and collecting art. But the hobby that gives me the greatest and purest amount of pleasure per hour is painting.

In “Painting As a Pastime,” a beautiful little book just published by Levenger Press, Churchill recounts his own conversion to painting and explains the many ways it enriched his life:

In his 40s, Churchill, retired from his command as an officer of the British admiralty, took on the “narrow duties” of a counselor. The mundanity of his new occupation and the frustration of having to sit idly and watch the war develop left him “gasping” and anxious.

Thanks to the intervention of his sister, Churchill began dabbling with oil paints and a canvas and soon found himself caught up in the “great fun” and romance of painting. In painting, Churchill found that the “whole world” opened up to him. “The simplest objects have their beauty,” he said, and “every garden presents innumerable fascinating problems.”

Churchill not only found in painting a hobby that could completely absorb and please him but also became quite an accomplished artist — so much so that his paintings now sell for tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Having a hobby like painting will calm you down, excite you, challenge you, and entertain you. It will make you see the world in a more variegated way and will make you more interesting to others.

“You would be astonished the first time you tried this to see how many and what beautiful colors there are even in the most commonplace objects,” Churchill said. “Painting is complete as a distraction. I know of nothing which, without exhausting the body, more entirely absorbs the mind. Whatever the worries of the hour or the threats of the future, once the picture has begun to flow along, there is no room for them in the mental screen.”

You need a hobby like painting to make your life richer, your mind sharper, your downtime more enjoyable. And you need to develop a hobby or two so that later on — when you have a lot more spare time — you will have something rewarding to do with yourself.

I know dozens of guys who gleefully went into retirement only to discover that they were bored watching television and golfing. Virtually all of them eventually returned to the workforce, and took back on all the stress, anxiety, and frustration that comes with work.

The people who retire successfully — who stay retired and enjoy themselves — are generally not satisfied with television and golf. They have heeded Churchill’s advice and developed hobbies.

“Broadly speaking,” Churchill said, “human beings can be divided into three classes: those who are toiled to death, those who are worried to death, and those who are bored to death.”

You should get a hobby to give you something worthwhile to do when you end your business career. But you should also get a hobby to make the life you have now richer, deeper, and more pleasing.

Read “Painting As a Pastime” to discover:

* what special personal quality you need to become a successful painter almost right away

* why you should try painting even if you already have a hobby

* why and how painting can fully occupy your mind and yet soothe your brain at the same time

* how painting is like preparing for and fighting a battle

* the secret of getting good fast (Hint: same secret that is taught to copywriters at AWAI)

* the many ways painting opens up and enriches your life