Friday, October 16, 2009

Killing the Hobbyhorse

“Cop that, Ned; he doesn’t half go on,” says an elderly woman out of the corner of her mouth to her husband in her broad cockney accent, visibly tired of the monologue. The object of the discussion has a hobbyhorse and he seems to be busily riding it with his overactive mandible… blissfully unaware as he is that those listening on are growing further disengaged by the second. Sound familiar?

Hobbyhorses are passions that are contorted out of control. We become a one track record and people who know us studiously avoid those subjects that ‘get us going.’

Think now what your hobbyhorse is; perhaps it’s people with hobbyhorses?! The fact is we all get our knickers in a twist at one thing or another. But it doesn’t need to remain this way.

We have opportunities to claim balance in our lives every day by setting out to kill our hobbyhorses. We identify them, restrain them, and then euthanize them. Sounds simple doesn’t it?

In reality it’s not nearly that simple, but we can start and we can dispose of these horrible reputational appendages over time.

ü We can set goals to not talk about certain ‘hobbyhorse’ subjects.

ü We could make the commitment to someone close to us; they can help us remain accountable.

ü Perhaps we can also watch others’ body language and facial expressions when we speak, and at any hint of disinterest, we could change tack.

The truth is, we’re all inclined toward a hobbyhorse or three. And not all our hobbyhorses are negative; or at least they don’t start out that way!

The trick is to manage our passions so they add value to ourselves and others. Our passions shouldn’t become tiresome. They should inspire, not tire.

© S. J. Wickham, 2009.

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