Turn Up the Volume on Your Hobby: 3 Simple Lessons to Develop Your Passion

DJMusicNightclubBy Cameron Dare

My friends and I decided to purchase DJ equipment.

Finally, after weeks of impatiently waiting, it arrived; and with its arrival, I felt like I had arrived as well. With this new DJ gear I hoped to finally uncover the passionate hobby I’d always been looking for.

It was March of 2010, and I was 22 years old.

Throughout my life, there had been several signs that DJing would be something I would enjoy.

As a young child, I would sit on my family’s living room floor with a set of blank cassettes. While listening to the radio, I’d patiently wait for my favorite songs to play so I could quickly press “Record” and save them for later.

As technology advanced and CD burners became a reality, I would enthusiastically create playlists for friends, not once being asked to do so.

I even convinced an internet radio host to let me occasionally play on their station.

Back then I was called “DJ Ice,” and in my high-pitched middle-of-puberty voice I would do my callback: “Ice, ice baby! You’re in the mix with DJ Ice.”

So at the age of 22, there I was, DJ gear in hand, ready to take on the world.

Unsurprisingly, for the next few weeks you could find me diligently learning the craft I had loved since I was a boy.

However, there was only one problem: I wasn’t enjoying it.

Even though every sign pointed to the fact that I would love DJing, when I finally did get gear, it wasn’t nearly as much fun as I had hoped. In fact, I was ready to quit.

I was extremely frustrated. It didn’t make sense: DJing was the one thing I was sure I would be passionate about, so why wasn’t I enjoying it?

Determined to push on, I continued to play, but in small increments. I stopped forcing it, but still remained proactive in my progress. Once I took the pressure off of myself, things slowly started to get better . I sucked terribly at DJing, but only I knew that. The important part was that I actually started having fun.

And this is when I had an epiphany: Just because I started DJing, that didn’t mean I would instantly be passionate about it. Passion comes through experience, and develops over time.

Passion is a volume knob, not a light switch.

Fast forward 3 years, and DJing is now one of the most important passions in my life. I host a monthly podcast, I play at nightclubs and best of all, DJing brings an immense amount of happiness to my life.

So how do you go from starting a new hobby to becoming passionate about it?

Here are three lessons I’ve learned along the way:

1. Define it for yourself – What do YOU enjoy about it?

In my teenage years, I was truly passionate about photography; I absolutely loved it. But instead of identifying the elements I enjoyed about it (creative expression, adventure, a temporary escape without expectations), I allowed others to define it for me: If I was going to be a photographer, that meant I had to do paid work, right?

So I started doing paid work and hated it. Instead of having fun with photography, allowing it to be my creative outlet and connecting to the photographs emotionally, it became a source of frustration and insecurity. So eventually I stopped and haven’t cared for photography since. Crazy right?

An important element of developing a hobby into a passion is understanding the value it brings to your life.

Action step: Identify the value you receive from doing the activity. Do more of what you enjoy and less of what you don’t. Define it for yourself.

rock-climbing32. Take on challenges to push your comfort zone

Putting yourself on the line and being vulnerable to potential failure is a great way to ignite passion. It doesn’t matter what you’re interested in, only that you use some sort of “test” to improve your skill and face your fears.

For example, as my skills as a DJ were improving I decided to launch a monthly podcast. This gave me a project to work on each month, allowing me to see progress over time, with an added deadline forcing me into action. Having this project on a monthly basis gave me a sense of purpose and kept me motivated.

Completing challenges will give you a sense of achievement, self-confidence, and a high level of intrinsic value.

Action step: Find a way to step outside of your comfort zone with your hobby.

Challenge yourself. You may be thinking: “But what if I fail?” If you fail, this will give you important feedback: Are you no longer interested in your hobby, or do you come back fighting for more?

moments-123. Share it with others to create a community

One of the biggest benefits of having a monthly podcast has been the opportunity to share my craft with others and build a community around my passion. By being vulnerable enough to open my craft up to others, I have been able to receive critical amounts of positive encouragement, feedback with ideas I may have never considered, and even accountability to continue developing my skills.

But the best part is that it took an activity I once did alone in my basement to a podcast that creates monthly conversations with friends, as well as the possibility of meeting others who share my interests and can offer lessons and advice to grow.

Action step: Create an opportunity to share your hobby with others. If you were learning how to cook, this could be as simple as inviting a few friends over for dinner and preparing a unique meal.

There you have it: three simple lessons to help you develop your passion.

Remember, focus on the value YOU get from the activity, take on challenges that push you out of your comfort zone, and share your passion with others to create a community.

If you want to talk more about how to develop your own passion, I encourage you to comment below. I’d be more than happy to help you in any way possible.

About the author

CamAdairCam in one word: passionate. Perceptive of human behavior at a young age, he felt destined for a role in counseling. After entering a journey of rigorous self-improvement, he found that his true calling was teaching others. Cam hosts a monthly house music podcast, Moments Podcast, which you can check out here.

Cam’s Website
Cam on Twitter


Photo source (rock climber): lei pi shan, yangshuo china by Maria Ly

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  • Great post Cameron!
    You’re absolutely right – passion is a volume knob, not a light switch. Forcing yourself to like a hobby will only cause frustration.
    Passion comes slowly through enjoying what you do-your hobbies-and it evolves as time goes.

    • Thanks for commenting, Vishal! I totally agree!

  • Good post thanks cam. Very true in my experience as well.

    • Hey Daniel, thanks for commenting. I’m glad it resonated with you! What’s your passion btw?

      • My passion is inspiring people to live an conscious life. This is where they choose what they want to do because they want to do it. It’s to give them enough motivation to take the first steps, and to also guide them through if they have any doubts along the way.

        • That’s awesome! Sounds like a great passion to have!

  • Hey Cam,

    It’s interesting that you stopped liking photography when you started making money from it. Was it because you had to sacrifice creative control for money?

    I’ve often felt the same way with web design, and while it used to be a huge hobby before, now it simply became a means to help people and make money from. It’s not the same anymore as I don’t stay up till 5 in the morning coding. It has a different meaning.

    I’ve been questioning a lot about my future business endeavors because of this — I don’t want to kill my hobbies and passions by turning them into businesses. Some people have had success with this, but I’d hate for that to happen in other aspects of my life besides web design.

    Regardless, the other steps on challenging yourself and sharing it are qualities I’ve seen in other highly successful people. Great advice, Cam.

    PS. I’ll cya in Boulder in a couple days!

    • Thanks for commenting homie.

      With photography I think it had more to do with being too far outside my comfort zone for where my current skill-set was at. Taking on paid gigs I wasn’t confident enough to deliver to the standard I knew I wanted to, which made me feel insecure and hating the process.

      I’ve felt some of the similar feelings with web design but one way I’ve looked at it is by taking inventory of what would be worse: doing a few web design gigs that weren’t ideal or working a 9-5 job you hate. The web design gigs look amazing in comparison.

      With that said, one of the things I’ve done with web design is to be very selective about the types of clients I’m working with. For me web design is a fun process of creativity, but sometimes that inspiration takes time to develop, so I only work with clients who understand sometimes sites can take some time and if they’re on a tight deadline I might be more likely to turn the job down. (One note: since you understand enough about web design it’s also possible to build a team under you and turn yourself into the sales/project manager type instead of the grunt web design work.)

      Lastly, any web design gig I take now is just a side thing for me to work towards what I actually want to do, and since web design gigs aren’t THAT much time, it frees it up for me to work on my real business instead.

  • I very recently started a blog for no one but myself… an outlet to challenge myself to solidify ideas and improve my writing. I’m also picking the brains of everyone I know that is creative. I have friends that are skilled with Photoshop, Logic and Ableton, and Final Cut Pro. Now that I have a tool to help me learn all these things (i.e. a new computer) I’m really pressing forward to learn as much as I can. Mostly for myself but I have the vision of adding value to other peoples lives. I found this article to be very simplistic but sometimes simplicity is the best option. Kudos!

    • Hey Miles! Thanks for commenting. I’m glad you found value in the article. I think starting a blog can be one of the funnest rides of your life. I highly recommend maintaining that idea of doing it for yourself first. It’s easy to lose sight of that as your audience grows. Best of luck with the site!

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