The following is a guest post by Jill Phillips. Jill is a freelance writer from Buffalo, NY. She is an aspiring entrepreneur and tech enthusiast, who loves to share her insight on various topics. When she is not writing, Jill enjoys taking photos and hiking with her dog. Connect with Jill via Twitter @jillphlps
For anyone with an eight-hour day job, being your own boss sounds like the ultimate dream. Not only do you get to work how and when you want, but you also dictate how much money you take to the bank. Well, real entrepreneurs tend to have a different perspective.
The chaos that they subject themselves into in the pursuit of “being their own bosses” takes a toll on them. True, they might smile all the way to the bank after a hard day’s work, but this does not in any way say that they had the easy route. In fact, you would be surprised to know that entrepreneurs work 63 percent more than the average workers do.
However, if any of this were true, we would have more entrepreneurs literally jumping off roofs because of the massive stress that comes with the entrepreneurial path. Their secret? They bury themselves in their hobbies. A study by researchers at San Francisco State University revealed that people who partake in creative activities in their pastime report positive work performance and are generally happier than those who don’t.
With that in mind, here are five hobbies that will put you on the path to becoming a better and happier entrepreneur.
Most people underestimate the benefits of running, and this may explain why some are usually contented after running around the block a few times. Running can be viewed from two perspectives. The first is with regard to achieving goals and the second is about the therapeutic effect that it offers.
Frits van Paaschen, the CEO of Starwood Hotels and Resorts might seem like the kind of person who literally “has it all”. However, not too many people know that he runs 10 miles every day and that this exercise starts at 6 a.m. His main reason for running is to conquer personal fears and set higher goals for himself. Outgoing president Barack Obama also admitted to being a casual drug user until he started waking up and running three miles a day. This goes to show that running is not only about the physical sweat, but it also instills a psychological sense of achievement in a person.
Besides the exercise showing you your true capabilities, it doubles as a therapeutic stress reliever. Researchers insist that running is essential in boosting your brain power since it tends to increase neuron reserves in the area of your brain that is responsible for learning. The effect is that your problem-solving skills will be heightened in the long run.
Entrepreneurs also need to maintain focus, and nothing does it better than meditation and yoga. However, together, they do much more than just help you maintain focus in your busy schedule, they also improve feelings of wellbeing, your cognition levels, and even your energy levels.
A recent study showed that persons who meditate display better non-verbal reasoning and higher measures of mood compared to those who do not practice meditation. Since cognitive skills are important in making a good entrepreneur, meditation and yoga stand to bring more good to you, especially when bundled with other relaxation techniques.
Talking of relaxation, meditation also helps entrepreneurs to improve their sleep as well as their energy levels. This can help you to develop a consistent sleep cycle in which your circadian rhythms are regulated. With a good sleep, you will be able to deal with daily job stresses better, and this will in turn translate to effective management of your business.
Finally, meditation improves your feelings of wellbeing. Since emotional stability is a vital aspect that determines your relationship with customers, meditation needs to come first when you want to maintain that positive energy all day.
Gardening, just like running, goes two ways. It helps clear your mind and gives you something small to learn about – patience. Entrepreneurship is more difficult than people think. The commoner might be in awe of big names like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, but no one really talks about how long they had to cultivate an idea into reality.
In many ways, this is what gardening teaches you. It gives you a sense of discipline which directly relates to how your business will grow. At the beginning, it starts small and barely has any fruits, but if you do it right, there will be more fruits than you expected.
Scientists are still puzzled with the true effects of gardening to a person’s brain. However, they do share the opinion that gardening tends to reduce stress and calm down your nerves. They argue that this occurs when there is a decrease of cortisol, a hormone that is crucial in stress response in your body.
When bundled with other mind-calming methods like meditation and frequent exercise, you can achieve a unique state where you can manage behavioral and emotional problems with ease.
Unlike the first set of hobbies that we have looked at, surfing adds a new skill that is equally important in your journey as an entrepreneur. Surfing opens your mind to make quick and rational decisions. Though it is normally regarded as a sport for the young and energetic it is actually a sport for anyone and everyone.
Since it involves looking for high waves that make the experience worthwhile, it is easy to relate this to challenges that often come as you run your business. Depending on how you handle them, you could either be victorious or not. The same thing happens with the sport since your choices in the water dictate whether you will be swallowed by the wave.
Because it is a sport, it also doubles as a physical workout. This in turn improves your mental health because surfing tends to tax your mind after every second. In addition, this kind of exercise also helps you lose some weight in the process.
Of course, surfing might need you to do some research, looking for great destinations as well as learn a couple of few skills first. While that may seem like a deterrent, learning a new skill will also act as a stress reliever, and this helps in helping you become a better entrepreneur.
If you’ve ever wondered why CEOs prefer spending their Sunday afternoons in a golf club, then it’s time you knew the real reason. Golfing helps relieve stress in a number of ways. For starters, the peaceful surrounding tends to give you that calm feeling that is often difficult to get in an office.
Apart from that, it also taxes your concentration, keenness, and accuracy. In essence, if you spend say two hours playing golf, it will be extremely difficult to think about your work-related worries for the whole two hours.
Other than freeing your mind from being enslaved by negative thoughts, golfing creates a favorable platform for you to build social connections with colleagues or potential business partners. In addition to helping you build connections, the sport also does a number of positive things to your body. For one, it improves your endurance. Secondly, it helps you shed off some body fat. Thirdly, it stimulates blood circulation by stimulating your heart.
All in all, there are many ways in which the hobbies discussed benefit your body physically. However, as an entrepreneur, you should not forget to look deeper and try to learn how to be a better person from your hobby.