Chasing Happiness: A Guide to Overcoming Your Long List of Interests

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With life’s endless joys and possibilities, it’s only natural that everyone finds interest in many things. Some dedicate their lives to maths and science because they are excelling in these academic fields. Conversely, others see themselves soaring high in arts and humanities. Regardless of the field, interests can evolve into one’s dream of, let’s say, becoming highly-regarded solicitors or renowned businessmen. Interests are key drivers for building your future career.

People’s interests can be traced to their childhood. Children are always preoccupied because they’re interested in something. But upon reaching the age of being self-critical, they can be overwhelmed with too many interests and end up being stuck. They are left with nothing but frustration. But there are ways to overcome this devastating feeling, and below is a guide to do so.

List to eliminate

To determine what you wish to pursue, listing all your interests down is the first step. This may seem trivial, but you should be conscious of not overlooking its value. Listing interests can be equivalent to listing down grocery items. When people visit the grocery store, they turn to their list of to-buy food items to keep themselves on track and not overspend. No one can buy all the food they want, and it goes the same with having interests. Lists, in general, serve as a reminder of one’s limitations. But more importantly, having a list helps you narrow down your wide-ranging choices.

A starter question to eliminating choices can be asking yourself this, “What am I committed to exploring that’s usually not within my mental territory?” The answer to this helps you cross off what doesn’t apply. Narrowing down choices is practical as it leads to a higher chance of achieving interests. In the end, it will be more fulfilling.

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Take action

Upon finalising the list, the next step is to take action on the interests. One will never know their potential when they don’t act on it. Taking action means trying and failing until one has reached the mastery level. It’s training the self physically and mentally to focus on the goal. But remember, one must devote time. No matter how small or big the number of interests is, it’s best to make a schedule to know when to practise, and one has to be strict in following it.

Build a support system

K. Ann Renninger, a professor at Swarthmore College, researched on the development of interests and claimed that “neuroscience has confirmed that interests can be supported.” This means that with the right help from the right people, one can progress in their chosen interests. Although the limit of interests depends on a person’s capabilities, it would be more difficult to be engaged without support from people who believe in one’s potential.

Interests change and grow over time, especially at the age of career decision-making. You should not be afraid to be overwhelmed with having too many interests because it just means you are finding meaning in life. By following the three guidelines above, you can decide on your happiness.

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