In today’s fast-paced world, it can sometimes feel like being productive at all times is the only way to keep up.  We may feel the need to streamline our lives, multi-tasking, optimising, and making the most out of every minute of our day. While there is of course nothing wrong with aiming for success in areas of our lives where we feel it matters, such as in academics or our careers, feeling the need to be productive and perform well at all times can be stressful.

This can make it difficult to enjoy or even engage in any activity that we do not perceive ourselves to be good at, or that does not seem to have any immediate gratification. However, it is important to remember that not everything we do needs to be productive. Acknowledging that we cannot and -more importantly- need not perform well on every activity we take part in allows us to truly enjoy and get the most out of these.

Some hobbies, in particular creative ones, may not even have any clearly defined markers of performing well. Taking part in activities without any demand to do well -either from ourselves or from others gives us the space to decompress and relax from otherwise stressful lives. Thinking back to childhood, when we played games because we enjoyed them, and not because they measured our performance: focusing on the process of something and how it makes us feel, rather than the value of an end result can be much more gratifying.

And even in areas in which performing well may matter to us, such as our jobs or studies, having an attitude that allows us to continue to pursue something even though we may initially not be very good at it can be incredibly helpful. We learn much more about the process and workings of any skill if we first do it badly.

In conclusion, learning to be okay with not being the best at everything can be incredibly freeing. So why not try a new hobby or activity with no expectations of an end result?. There is certainly value in doing things you enjoy, even, or maybe especially- if you do them ‘badly’.

Author: Teresa Ries, Student Care and Research Assistant