Can You “Fail” Your Hobby?


Everyone needs a hobby to stay “alive” – it’s any activity that brings pure joy to them without the expectation of anything else in return.

And every one of us would have thought at some point in our lives that we want to turn our hobby into a business. A small handful succeed partially because of luck, but mostly through grit and tenacity.

Now, those who don’t succeed – did they fail? It sounds weird, but not succeeding doesn’t mean that you fail, especially when it comes to your hobby. You answer to no one except yourself.

It’s true that all of us hold our hobbies as sacred and precious to us. A hobby is our safe space where we can do what we want without any judgment from anyone, since most hobbies are done alone.

However, when our hobbies involve others or are open to the world to see, we hold back and are afraid to be judged. Often, it’s because we don’t think we’re at a stage where we’re proud of – yet.

For example, if practising yoga is my hobby, posting pictures of my progress in yoga is putting myself out there to be “judged by others” who see those pictures. Would they think, “this yogi can’t even do a downward facing dog properly and he’s posting pictures of himself doing yoga? So thick-skinned”?

“When your hobbies get in the way of your work – that’s ok; but when your hobbies get in the way of themselves… well.”

– Steven Martin

The truth is, many people will judge you – it’s why every celebrity has a group of haters for every reason you can think of. By allowing the fear of possibly “failing” in your hobby – my professional career isn’t going so well and if I can’t even do well in my hobby, something I hold so dear, it would be a huge blow for me – you’re giving up without even trying.

Always look forward and improve

As obvious as it sounds, many of us just need assurance and support from loved ones that we should continue with our hobby.

That said, it’s up to us to take action by not looking at past setbacks and mulling over them. This is true for practically everything in our lives, but it should be even more true for our hobbies. We took up a hobby in the first place because we believe in it and it brings us joy.

If the outcome or result of your efforts isn’t up to your expectations or a standard you set for yourself, analyse where you could have done better and work on the problem areas. Remember: there’s always room for improvement.

The only time you’ll “fail” yourself is if you were to stop looking for areas of improvement and call it quits. That’s fine if your priorities shifted. It’s not fine, though, if you’re throwing in the towel because of a series of setbacks that demoralise you.

Set aside time in your schedule and stick to it

Momentum. That’s what keeps the tough going when the going gets tough. Missing just one or two sessions dedicated for your hobby and you’ll lose momentum. It’s why I dedicate time for at least some yoga self-practice every single day without fail.

If my goal is eventually becoming a yoga instructor, it makes little sense that I’m giving myself excuses to not set aside a “sacred” time in my schedule to do the very thing that will help me achieve my goal.

Blocking out time to binge on dramas or play a video game is easy, because there’s little resistance since those are generally pleasurable. Investing time in a hobby, on the other hand, requires some effort and planning, but we should learn how to derive joy from the intention too.

Set your intention and hold it

I’d like to borrow a yoga saying that setting the intention for the practice (or hobby) psychologically gives you more energy.

Yogis set and hold the intention throughout the practice, which is usually to deepen the practice and correct misalignments in our poses. Whenever we feel like giving up because the pose is challenging, we bring our awareness back to the intention we set at the start, to give us that extra ohm of energy to push through. Very aptly, too, we would usually start the practice with three “oms”.

When challenges seem daunting, it’s only human to feel discouraged and defeated. Those who eventually succeed, though, are the ones who press on regardless of how many setbacks they experience.

Each setback overcame is one step forward, never consider a setback as a sign you’re on the wrong path. A hobby is meant to make you happy, not stressed or pressured to succeed. Success is the natural outcome of dedication.

Don’t judge yourself

Most of all, you are your worst enemy. Only you can make yourself fail your hobby.

“Each time you judge yourself, you break your own heart. Break your heart no longer.”

– Yoga Master Swami Kripalvanandji

When others judge you, it’s just an indication of their own fear and envy of expressing vulnerability by putting yourself out there. When you judge yourself, it’s your own fear of failing.

There’s no failing if there’s no end in your hobby. The only failure is when you judge yourself to a point where you give up, marking the end of your hobby.


  • Look forward and improve
  • Set your intention and hold it
  • Don’t judge yourself

About the author

Vance Wong

Brain-picker. Cinephile. Koreaboo.

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by Vance Wong


Vance Wong

Brain-picker. Cinephile. Koreaboo.