I was just scrolling through instagram posts when I decided to click on the stories of people I follow. One story from a fellow debate club member bothered me. He was posting a chapter of a book. The next day, just like what I usually did, I clicked on people’s stories as I sat comfortably in my room after coming back from campus. The same person, this time, updated a different part of (maybe) another book.
I started to get very curious and opted to pay an extra attention on this person’s instagram stories. The day after that, he was posting another chapter of, as I guessed, a different book. I was wow-ed. I then decided to send him a direct message to ask him about his stories. I received a reply.
The name is Sabiq Muhammad, a second year law student in Universitas Islam Indonesia. I asked Sabiq on Instagram, how many books he finished in a week? (while guessing that maybe he finished around two or three books) his answer, however, was not what I expected. Sabiq admitted he finished a book a day, every week. He called it; a hobby.
“I read a book, a day. It just happens to be my hobby,” I then asked him has the hobby brought some improvements in his everyday life since his hobby happens to be reading — cultivating new pieces of information and interesting facts about things in this expanding universe. His answer was very honest, he first answered the question with the type of books he likes to read. His preferences are philosophy and novels. “I like to read books, I prefer to read books than to do other activities. Well it does make me tend to be antisocial, since I’m too busy enjoying myself, reading,” Sabiq then continued on explaining the impacts of his hobby that he started to develop during his second semester in the uni, he told me that he usually save some money to buy books, minimally he bought 4 books every week,
“from the philosophy books that I read, I have grown into a person who enjoys my every day life, because it affects my way of thinking and how I feel about myself. I think its safe to say that I feel more independent, due to the influence of the psychoanalysts as well.”
“my activities are only few; sleep, wake up, read books. I think that my hobby is not useful for other people,” he ended that one with a laugh I think since the whole conversation took place on instagram direct. “people can say that I’m actually an unproductive person, well maybe the right term is… less productive. Besides from reading books, my other hobby happens to skip classes because of oversleeping.” I laugh on that one, its nice that Sabiq admitted this flaw regardless of the fact that he agreed to have our conversation posted on my blog.
I then asked him, “what are the title of your favourite books? oh also, the title of the last book you read?”
“I like Pram Tetralogi Pulau Buru (Bumi Manusia, Anak Semua Bangsa, Jejak Langkah, Rumah Kaca), I also like Marx’s Concept of Man by Erich Fromm,” I did not recognise the titles and felt like I have a lot to learn from Sabiq (and the books he read). “As of the book I’m reading now is written by M. Zaenal Arifin, titled Metateori Redefinisi Subjek Slavoj Žižek.” The title of the book Sabiq mentioned was also alien to me, I did not proceed to ask more about the book, decided that I have to do some learning on my own first then perhaps, consider asking.
The lesson learned,
I want to start this discussion by saying, reading is important, but I know for sure that everybody knows that. Instead, I want to say, developing good hobbies is vital and healthy. In Sabiq’s case, he decided reading would do it. For some other people, it might be reciting the Quran every day, or going to the gym, or writing a blog post, or going for a swim every Wednesday afternoon.
I have come across the idea that even though Sabiq and I share the same interest (toward reading, that is), I did not set a target upon it, unlike Sabiq who targeted to finish one book in one day and to do it on daily basis. Setting the target makes it easier for people to shift their interest/hobby into a habit. The difference of hobby and habit is that; a hobby is an activity one’s like doing in one’s spare time — it requires effort. Habit, on the other hand, is a set of behavior/actions done on a regular basis.
Sabiq’s status quo is that he already managed to make his hobby, reading, a habit. He finds it no problem to finished a book in a day because he has accustomed his brain to this repeated activity. Even though the activity may now become effortlessly done, Sabiq’s can still get new insights and information from his habit. He, too, now can develop new hobbies and still be making efforts to do things that interest him.
In my case, finishing a book in a targeted time of time is a non-existing activity (unless its related to my study and is required by my faculty, then I’m on board, making efforts). I read ONLY when I want to and finished the book ONLY when I feel like doing it. No target sets. Excuses are here and there. For example, I have been postponing on finishing Aan Mansyur’s Melihat Api Bekerja, simply because I only read it when I feel like I’m in a movie, when I go on road trips or after I took a ride to Mount Merapi. Oh and I have the book since 2016. Different scenario applied to Gita Savitri’s Rentang Kisah, since I was curious about the book and wanted to prove that its overrated, I finished the book in one sitting, less than 2 hours reading.
The inconsequence of doing what interests me is the root cause of why as per today I’m still unable to shift my interest to a hobby, then to a habit. I think some people have the same problem as me, thus, I believe its important to do what interests you by setting a target and to at least do it weekly, then biweekly, then maybe, every day. Also, keep in mind, the only way to do a great work is to love what you do! (Steve Jobs)
Well, we have reached the end of this post. I know that the post is lacking here and there, but I hope you and the people reading this have come to the realisation that having a good habit is good. Also, I hope you went to the gym today, plan to work out tomorrow, read a book, read the Quran and always healthy!