Barclaycard colleagues lose their inhibitions and Start Today

Barclaycard colleagues lose their inhibitions and Start Today

Have you ever made an excuse not to try something that you’ve always wanted to do? One in five of us would love to channel our inner rock star and learn to play an instrument; one in ten even fancy getting their legs in a twist with yoga lessons.

Barclaycard research shows those with hobbies feel healthier, more energetic, more confident, and have a more positive outlook on life. It’s also a chance to meet new people: those who spend 5 – 10 hours per week on a hobby have made on average 17 new friends through their activity. There are a whole generation of younger entrepreneurs turning their passions into pennies and making money from their hobbies in their spare time. But you don’t have to be a budding Richard Branson to seize the day and try something new. So what’s stopping you?

Playing with fire

Chris Campbell is a Customer Experience Manager based in Cardiff. He’s always had a fire in his belly for the art of dragon staff. It’s a type of fire spinning, where you manipulate a metal and fibreglass stick with fire on the ends. You twizzle it around your arms and neck so it’s constantly sliding and rotating over you. 

Chris explains why he always wanted to get into it: “When I was still at school, my older brother brought back some fire-spinning poi from Thailand. Poi are basically two chains that you spin to make flame patterns. As a teenager, I went to lots of music festivals and I’d do fire-spinning in the campsites at night. But I haven’t done any fire-spinning in the last five years, since becoming a father.

Reasons to start today

Chris’s brother was recently diagnosed with cancer. He says: “It made me wake up to the fact that we’re not immortal. Life feels more urgent, so I want to do something special today!”

Chris is keeping it simple while he gets used to playing with fire: “It’s 99% self-taught – there are plenty of tutorial videos online to learn the theory, then it’s a case of practice, practice, practice. My goal is to master the basics so that I’m ‘in the zone’ and it just flows without having to think about the moves or my technique.”

A passion for painting

Antje Schurau is a Business Design Analyst based in Barclaycard’s Hamburg office in Germany and she has always wanted to channel her inner Monet and learn to paint. But not any old painting, she’s learning a technique that dates back to the ninth century using opaque watercolours.

It’s been a passion for a long time, Antje explains: “As a child, I remember helping my mum and dad paint our flat and really loved the bright colours – I think that’s what got me into painting in the first place. And the good thing about this style of painting is that if I make a mistake, I can just paint over it!”

We all have a reason to put off starting something new, but a world of opportunity can open up when you throw off those inhibitions and dive in:

“I always try to do too many things at once. So now I’ve decided to really channel my energy and focus onto one thing. It’s relaxing, makes me calm, and most of all it makes me happy. When I see the results, I get a real sense of satisfaction and pride, which spurs me on to paint more.”

Antje and Chris aren’t the only people getting involved. Blogger, author and mum Giovanna Fletcher is joining the Barclaycard 31 Day Challenge, where she’ll be starting something new every single day this January. From learning the violin to cycling in the velodrome and even learning how to “upcycle”, check out her progress here