No matter what your interests, hobbies, professions, or proclivities; your goal should be to come as close to mastery as possible, in the time provided.
We have all heard the expression that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to master a single skill. The actual number is irrelevant, the point is: mastering anything takes a significant amount of work. As is typically the case in life, we don’t often have the ability to dedicate nearly three years of our waking life to a single task.
You’re going to need to find some shortcuts.
It Starts With Attitude
While it’s rarely possible to dedicate your time and attention to a single task, you need to be dedicated to the idea of reaching your maximum possible ability, circumstances provided.
Rule 1 – Always be moving forward. Every choice you make should be to progress your skill.
To be moving forward you need to be challenging yourself. Staying within your comfort zone is a trap to be avoided. Along with taking on a challenge comes mistakes. When you make a mistake it needs to be viewed as long-term big step forward. Hitting a wall, or making a mistake doesn’t have to bring you backwards, it forces you to pivot and gives you information and experience not to make the same mistake in the future. It’s progression, and you need to view it that way.
Rule 2 – Be confident. Don’t view confidence as the product of mastery, mastery is only achieved by the confident.
Confidence is a choice, always. Situations can make this choice difficult at times, but it’s always a choice you are capable of making. Too often people view confidence as a synonym for experience, it’s not. The most successful people are always the ones taking on challenges, they are always the ones stepping into uncharted territory. Your experience is what helps you have success along the way, but none of these things are the same as choosing to be confident.
No one in the world has any idea what you are thinking or feeling. If you walk through the door looking like the most confident man in the room, then you are. There is no secret to it, you just need to make the choice.
Rule 3 – Don’t fool yourself into thinking you know everything. You know shit.
Only an amateur thinks they are even close to knowing all there is to know about something. If you want to master something you need to be searching out good questions to ask. Never stop asking questions, and listen to anyone willing to give you an answer. You may not agree with what they have to say, but make that decision after you have heard them out, never before. Some of the most valuable gifts you will receive will come when you least expect it.
Focus on the Bottom, not the Top
I’ve written multiple times about lopping the “C” game, so go and read that for more info. The short of it:
Focus on the weakest parts of your game, not the strongest.
The amount of benefit you receive from plugging a hole in your boat greatly outweighs the benefit of hoisting up another sail.
Search for Help
The world has changed in the past few decades. You now have access to an effectively infinite amount of information at your fingertips. Watch videos, continue reading blogs (my blog, to be more accurate), and learn how to use google like a pro.
On top of that, head to forums to get advice for your own questions, and to read advice given to others. For most things these days the most useful tool around is Reddit. Don’t bother using their search, just head to google and type: reddit how to paint a car with spray paint. You’ll find exactly what you’re looking for, almost guaranteed.
A big caveat: don’t bother heading to reddit for BDSM advice. Unfortunately the two main BDSM sub-reddits are run by people having no business being in their positions. (Full disclosure, I’m slightly bitter for being banned, ridiculed, and laughed at for wanting to share what is considered by the BDSM world to be my most valuable article: How to Be a Dom: Rules and Orders. Not only did they ban me, they banned this entire site from being shared there. I would say it’s their loss, but unfortunately it’s your loss too.)
When you want to skip steps, avoid making some mistakes along the way, and learn as quickly as possible: find a coach, course, or mentor. This is always the quickest way anyone can learn skills required to close in on mastery, but it’s not always free.
Practice Every Chance You Get
No matter what, you will never get better unless you put in the time. Practice every chance you get. When you can’t physically practice, do it mentally. Every little bit of work you put in will add up. Make it a priority to spend time working on your skills. When you have a hard time finding the willpower to do the work, just choose to get started on a small piece of it. It’s much easier to continue, after starting on something small, then to get started on something big.
The easiest example for this is writing. If you sit there trying to think about what to write, or how to write it, you’re never going to get a word on the page. Instead, just sit down and start writing. It doesn’t matter if it’s good, or even makes sense. The act of doing it is often all it takes to accomplish something meaningful.
This is advice I need to follow myself.
In the end, all it takes to master something is to decide you’re going to do it, and take the first step. Don’t worry about where you’ll end up, just get started, and keep moving forward.