Being interested lets a concept captivate you. It makes learning effortless. The desire to know is sought out. It involves the curious in an unconditioned quest for more. Something. Anything other than what currently is. Doing becomes a compelling deed, transforming the hero toward a determined evolution.
Interest is the catalyst for growth.
It distills why you like what you like.
When I ask the kids why they like a game, the first response swirls around, “It’s fun.” With more probing, this clarifies into, “It’s slower paced”, “I get to hit things”, “It makes me run”, “Because I’m good at it.” Specific motivations bubble to the surface, and I am gifted the variables to cultivate self-sustained practice. This group just really wants to chase things. These want to challenge their brains and solve puzzles and be cerebral. Those friends simply want me to make it okay for them touch each other. All I have to do, then, is develop a task or situation that utilizes these desired elements, and turn them loose.
There is often a striking disconnect between what people tell you they are interested in and what their seen habits and behaviors dictate. A socially accepted ‘pretend’ interest (or ‘should’) is often tossed avoid vulnerable disclosure of the actual. Observing their choices without bias reveals their true nature. Interests are often bigger than they seem to be.
Authentic interest is the thread that runs through your tangents of attention. For me, it was basketball, then rugby (lumped as competitive athletics) then rehab (to try and return to competitive athletics), then playful exploration (the creative piece of competitive athletics). The truth is, though, I hated game day. All I wanted was to practice and learn and improve. Sport was simply the known system I was accepted into. The steadfast connection through those phases of interest was an evolving means to work on weaknesses. They kept me practicing and learning and improving.
Interest is the acknowledgement of potential. Whether it be a person or skill or product/ achievement, there is an inherent understanding that there is more to discover, and it is worth the time and effort to do the digging. The endeavor is chosen and meaningful. Aligning energy with intrigue gives your act a valiant flair – you are sure of becoming better (or at least more) through the process. The journey is not made in vain.
Selecting a career or a mate or a friend or a purpose all seem to follow the same rule. The question of, “What should I do?” can be steered by follow-up, “What are you interested in?”. We inherently believe we can be good at what interests us. Interest is instinctual, we know before we are conscious of knowing.
Be forewarned, this process isn’t intended to be an efficient one. Learning about yourself takes time and experience to acknowledge and then challenge your biases. Those unwilling or unready to sit with themselves will get anxious and run up a hefty Amazon tab. The process of unraveling our psyche is the plight of those weaned on instant gratification. If only they could be as interested in themselves as they are in fixes presented to them.
When I work with people in pain, I steer our conversations to get them interested their discomfort. The issue that plagues cannot be solved by avoidance. They must inhabit it and the space it occupies. To numb it is dull the lesson. We thoroughly investigate what we are interested in, and discover the options that provide us an alternative route — a path of greater enjoyment.
What we can manipulate, we can control. Findings generate more questions. Empowered scientists become confident ones, certain they can find their own way. Interest becomes expansive and contagious.
The interested are beckoned to sort out the how.
It is not enough to blindly consume or do. There is a desire to become a part of the movement, recognizing that it is your interpretation that makes the story or undertaking worthwhile. Internal answers have a unique clarity. Yours is the perspective everyone else might have missed.
As your thinking and experience expands, your interests adapt in step. Let them change. Allow them to mold your future self. Again, they know before you do what best suits you.
Letting go is a necessary step toward continued progress. It encourages development in multiple realms versus banking on one. It grants you the ability to apply your interests into other things, and find that guiding, overarching theme. It asks you to untether yourself to identities and investments and simply be as you are drawn to.
Knowing when to let go depends on the the strength and frequency of your internal dialogue. Intuition cannot be commanded, only listened to. Waning interests in what you used to enjoy is a surefire sign it’s time to try something else. Though your readiness might not match up with your level of awareness, your interests never lie. A lack of interest is just as telling as obsession.
The choice to follow whims or detours is to allow yourself to be transfixed. It is the steadfast faith that there is something better than what you are currently doing, and that you have every right and competence to enter there. Without the confinement of labels, you are free to do exactly as you wish. We our own best enabler, with the capacity to chart our own course built in.