You’ve probably heard it said that mastery takes around 10,000 hours to achieve, as written about extensively by Malcolm Gladwell in Outliers. Imagine you want to become a master filmmaker and you spend eight hours a day practicing your craft. In 1,250 days or roughly 3.5 years, you should arrive. But the reality is that many of us, myself included, don’t spend that amount of time each day on the things we want to master. Instead, we watch a few YouTube videos, poke around in our software, buy a bunch of positively reviewed gear, and naively proclaim like Neo in The Matrix, “I know kung fu.” But for every subject we claim to know, there will always come a time when someone says, “Show me.”
Quotes Referenced in this Episode:
Handmade: Creative Focus in the Age of Distraction by Gary Rogowski:
“I thought I had an idea of what a furniture maker should be, what it should look like. It looks nothing like that now. Plans are obsolete as soon as they’re made because the world changes around you the very next second. Yet I think that my life retains some flavor of the image I once imagined. The beginner’s mind is so hurried. He is in a rush because he sees exactly what he wants but he wants it right away. There is too much to learn, too much to grasp. Who can wait to learn? I want to be great. I know what greatness is, I want to be great right now…. It was a long learning curve. It took me four years in the basement teaching myself before I designed and built something that I thought might be a good piece. These paths take some time to travel” (pp. 37-38).
Six ways to slow down and enjoy your long-term journey to mastery:
- Spend time every day engaged in the activities of your desired greatness.
- Ask yourself, what do I hope to gain by achieving this greatness today instead of tomorrow? Rushing through work is a great way to shortcut learning opportunities.
- Learn, experiment, and share.
- Converse and collaborate with the people who are where you want to be.
- Set a range of goals from decades to today.
- Have patience, don’t be in a such a hurry.
- Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
- Handmade: Creative Focus in the Age of Distraction by Gary Rogowski
- Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World by Cal Newport
- Photo by Anna Dziubinska on Unsplash
- The (Seven Deadly) Curiosity Killers
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