On interests, hobbies and skills

How to find your interests and how they differ from your skills and hobbies

You are a mix of your skills, hobbies and interests. Most people also confuse hobbies with their interests. There is a big difference between the two.

Your hobbies often cost money, but your interests can help you earn money.

Want to know how? Read on to learn how you can find and leverage your interests.


Your skills is something you currently get paid for. It's what you are good at. It's your job.

You might not like doing what you are doing, or you might do, but your skills put food on the table.

Skills is a compound of your previous interests, formal or informal education and serendipity. They are you.

All the previous choices you have made and the experiences you have had make up your current skill set.

Most of the knowledge workers sell their skills in the form of knowledge. They sell their expertise in form of time in exchange for money.

Depending on your skill set you can get paid a lot or a little, but you are most likely selling your time for money. A salary.

Skills are not your interests. But they might have been.


You hobbies is something you don't get paid for. If you get paid for them they are not hobbies. It's a job.

Hobbies often cost money. Travelling is a hobby, so is gardening or working out. Maybe your hobby is photography, cross-stitching or hiking. Maybe it's your dog.

Hobbies don't have to cost much but they often do. And they are worth spending money on.

Hobbies is something you do during your free time and you do it because it's fun. A hobby's main purpose is usually relaxation, meditation or pure enjoyment. Your hobbies help you forget all your worries and allow you to fully immerse yourself in the now. If only for a short moment.

You often use the money generated from your skills to sponsor your hobbies. Your hobbies are important for your well-being. You should try to keep them alive and set aside time for them regularly.

Hobbies are not your interests.


So what are interests if they are not your hobbies? In short, they are the seeds of your new skills. Skills yet to be learned. A seed that can grow into a beautiful tree that bears many fruits in the future.

Let me explain. The diagram below helps visualize the concept.

Interests vs. Hobbies

Here is the thing. Your interests don't have to be related to your current skill set, but they should help you expand it.

The interests are often found at the intersections. It's the missing skill. If you invest time and energy in a newly found interest you will expand your skills' circle after a while. Growth.

Interests have nothing to do with your passion or your purpose. You don't have to know your purpose. That's a much deeper question that very few people know the answer to.

Interests is you, learning.

But how do you find your interests?

How to find your interests#

There are a few questions you can ask yourself that can help identify your interests:

Spend time on them. Look for patterns.

Also, think about activities that make you lose track of time. That usually means you enjoy them.

Now that you’ve come up with things you’re interested in, choose the one that you feel most excited about right now. Don't worry, you can always come back to your other interests later.

Don't underestimate the power of the unconscious mind. There is energy waiting to be released.

Strike while the iron is hot.

How to earn money from your interests#

I said in the beginning that you can make money from your interests. That is only if you invest time and energy in them.

But don't worry about right now. That comes later. First thing you need to do is to get started.

Let your enthusiasm and curiosity be the primary driving factors, and the journey be the main focus.

The journey itself will help you generate ideas for how you can make money. Just keep your eyes open.

Follow the protocol#

The C.L.E.A.R. is the perfect protocol to base your interest journey on (not sure where I heard it first).

Let's break it down.

Your interest starts with your curiosity and fascination. Something that captures your attention. Do you research and find as much information on it as possible. Books, articles, videos, people, forums. Overwhelm yourself first, then try to distill everything to its essence.

Start learning and experimenting so you can get a better understanding of it. Do small projects and experiments and document your findings, both good and bad, in public. This is important!

First steps can be hard and frustrating, but don't give up! Let it take time. Remember, nobody is instantly good at something. Chances are the more you learn the more enthusiastic you get. Mastering a new skill provides satisfaction. Continue to share your learnings and your enthusiasm. Rant!

As you become better and more skilled you will become aware yourself that you are getting pretty good at this. You start seeing opportunities and people around will start to interact with you. They will become aware of you. This will only happen if you continue sharing what you learn. Your journey.

As you continue your journey and document it people will start giving you recognition. They will start seeing you as an expert.

Everything is clear, right? Good!

This is not some magic formula. Many people follow this protocol.

I did and it worked for me. My primary interest for that past year was Svelte web framework. I started from zero and by following the C.L.E.A.R. protocol I wrote a book, got consulting gigs and conference talks offers. All this from curiosity driven by interests.

A few tips#

You have to invest time in your interests. Continuity. If you don't, you might lose interest (pun intended). Setting aside time is crucial. You can either follow the Seinfeld (don't break the chain) method or decide on the days when you dedicate a big chunk of time to them, like on weekends.

The more you do the faster you will master it. There are no shortcuts. Sorry. You have to put in the time.

Your journey will be full of pitfalls and frustrations, but don't let that discourage you. Nothing is easy. Keep pursuing your interests and work through the hardships so you can learn, improve and get better. Everything takes time and dedication. Make sure you do the work and use your failures as learning experiences going forward.

There will be a few pitfalls as you get deeper into your passion, but don’t let those discourage you. Even if you aren’t naturally good at something you’re passionate about, keep pursuing them and working through the hardships so you can improve and get better. Passions take time and dedication, so make sure you spend time doing the work and use any failures as learning experiences going forward.

While it’s important to persevere, it’s also important to recognize when to stop pursuing something. If you aren’t getting the same level of enjoyment that you were before, then it may be time to move onto something different.

Just as it’s important to persevere, it’s important to recognize when to stop. If you aren’t getting the same level of enjoyment or satisfaction, if it becomes a chore or you feel that you have learned enough, it might be time to move onto something different, more exciting.

After all, you are more skilled now than before you started. You just turned your interest into a new skill.

Now go and use it.

P.S. If you need help getting started or need someone to hold you accountable shoot me an email. I have an interesting working theory and an awesome playbook that I would like to validate, so the help will be mutual.