From Hobbies to Personal Effectiveness

Transforming Positive Habits and Hobbies into Learning Power

Learning is the process we go through to acquire new knowledge, skills, attitudes or values. We tend to think of learning only in relation to formal study but we are learning all the time through our experiences. Understanding how we learn is a critical building block to personal effectiveness. Everyone is different and some of us appear more effective at learning than others.

Curiosity contributes alot to learning by making sense of trial and error, determination and learning from experience. We sometimes forget about some apparently ‘unconscious’ aspects of learning process. Understanding our hidden skills will help us to be a more effective learner in all aspects of our life.

Positive habits and hobbies that we formed have the ability to lead our actions into efficiency and can help our learning power domain to exploring beyond the simple styles of doing things which we have mastered overtime. Habits and hobbies here focus on a broad range of behaviours, beliefs and preferences of the ways we learn in different situations, like, how we respond to new tasks, information, ideas and people.

By responding to actuality against planned activities, we present ourselves positively to others and we show sensitivity to their needs by unconsciously obtaining their commitment. The following are real life simulations which we carry out daily without knowing their full import on our personal effectiveness and impact on others.

Real-Life Experiences

If we love keeping and grooming pets – it portrays us:

  • As someone who shows interest in others welfare, we care!
  • As a time-keeper,
  • As punctual in meeting up with schedules and shifts,
  • As humane, empathic and tender in relationship.

If we have ears for news, love watching documentaries, love memoirs or history – it shows we are:

  • A curious person,
  • Willing to learn new skills,
  • Methodical in resolving issues,
  • Analytical in approach,
  • Logical from the beginning to an end of a task,
  • Deploying different techniques in arriving at result.
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If we love to cook especially for multitudes – it may imply that we:

  • Could organize and prioritize our preparation and can keep to plan,
  • Are willing to do things for other people,
  • Could stick to a plan or a set of instructions,
  • Pay attention to minute and detailed manual,
  • Could be time conscious.

If we are always regular and punctual in keeping appointments – this shows that we:

  • Could use a diary to remind and organize ourselves of important dates and times,
  • Could stay motivated, even in the face of challenges,
  • Could stick to a laid down plan and act on information or instruction in a timely manner.

By participating in entertainments and games, particularly team sports – it shows that we:

  • Could play a defined role within a team work,
  • Could listen to instructions and advice from a team lead,
  • Could understand the importance of practicing and preparing before commencement of tasks,
  • Are alert and ready at a short notice,
  • Would enjoy celebrating team’s success and accomplishment,
  • Understand that a good team relies on all the members working together,
  • Believe in strategic planning.

If we tend to garden – this shows that we:

  • Could work constructively on our own,
  • Are creative and could use our imagination,
  • Could look after tools and equipment that we work with,
  • Could take time out and reflect positively on things that are happening around us,
  • Are meek, tender and patience,
  • Are Hands-On and a practical person.

If we have been mobilizing our community – it shows:

  • We have leadership ability in us,
  • We could co-ordinate plans and people,
  • People around us trust us with responsibility for tangible results,
  • We are a rallying point,
  • We are opinion moulders.
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If we are living with other people amicably – it is likely we:

  • Could work within stipulated ground rules,
  • Have skills such as negotiation in order to help relationship work well,
  • Could cope with challenging behaviour and not lose our cool,
  • Could show consideration and respect for other people,
  • Could speak up on behalf of others less able to do so themselves.

If we travel around quite a lot, perhaps with a small group of people – this could mean:

  • Ability to coping with many changes and adapt to them especially in new environments,
  • Ability to working within a system that was new to us,
  • Ability to use a diary or other method of reminding ourself of important dates and times,
  • Ability to sticking to a plan and act on others advice.

Personal Effectiveness of Self on Others in a Work Place

Personal effectiveness describes how our behaviour impact and influence people around us. We exert this influence in the way we communicate and interact. Underpinning this communication and interaction are the things that are going on in our bodies, hearts and minds. The need for personal effectiveness applies in our daily social interaction with people we relate with at all levels in the society especially in a work place, whereas staff can exercise discretion in their work. The need for personal effectiveness applies to many jobs in any particular organisational level. It is a life skill set transferable between job roles, which can be acquired through practice.

Impediments to Personal Effectiveness

In order to know what is right to do, we need clarity. It is clarity of purpose that allows us to figure out what is truly important. The biggest enemy to clarity of purpose is noise. Noises are impediments and distractions like procrastination, lack of self confidence, running away from responsibility, fear of failure, low self-esteem, failure in taking initiatives and taking no actual action.

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Way Forward

Knowing what is right to do is just half the question. It is useless to know what we are supposed to do if we do not actually do them. To do what is right, we need to overcome distractions to do otherwise. All distractions can be summarized as short-term pleasures. So, the action we need to take is ignoring short-term pleasures. Since the things we are supposed to do are often uncomfortable, only by being able to ignore short-term pleasures can we actually do them. From the foregoing, there are two abilities which are crucial to effectiveness:

*The ability to minimize noise

*The ability to ignore short-term pleasures

All our effort to increase personal effectiveness should be focused on honing these two sensibilities. Having only one of them is not enough. We may end up knowing what to do but do not actually do them because of distractions. Likewise, we may be willing to do anything but end up doing the wrong things due to the lack of clarity of purpose.


TemiDayo Babatunde is a Public Relations professional and can be contacted via his Email:

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