The more I learn, the less I know.
Reading a (nonfiction) book is only describing the essence of what something is. To use big boy words, the essence is a ’core truth of an experience’. Watch a documentary on WWII and you can be marveled by the events, but you don’t know exactly what someone went through in that era. The feeling, the emotions, the resolve, the fear, the taste in the air.
The same is true for mastery. The more you learn, the more you realize how deep the well goes. Would you climb down if you knew it was that deep when you started? Probably not. That’s why it’s better to take action than wait for fear to step in and feel you with doubt about what’s possible and what you are capable of or not.
When you watch masters at work, they make it look easy, because it is easy for them. Their mastery is ingrained in their being. And unless they are great at teaching, if they tried to describe their work to an outside observer, they wouldn’t be able to, the movements are a part of who they are. You lick your finger to test the air and you feel the wind; A master licks their finger to test the air and knows the speed, direction, trajectory, weather, location and more. They are playing a different game.
And yet, ask any master and they’ll tell you the same thing: There’s more to learn. I know nothing.
I want to be a master in so many things, but mastery eludes anyone who just goes surface deep. Talent only gets you to ankle deep. Rest on your talents and you can go far, but hard work with zero talent and you can go just as far if not more so.
Here’s what I’ve learned so far about what you need to master something:
Consistency — the willingness to put in the daily effort
Perseverance — the willingness to wake up and start fresh, despite the daily effort.
Perspective — the willingness to play the long game and see mastery as a lifelong pursuit
Focus — the willingness to say no to lukewarm yes’s and anything that’s not our daily effort
Humility — the willingness to be okay with never being the smartest in the room, yet not letting comparison stop you from pursuing wisdom.
And do it with a Smile — the willingness to take on challenges and smile and have fun, even in the hardest moments.
It’s not the desire to be a master in something that leads you to become a master. Rather, it’s the love of learning and love of the pursuit that gets you there in the end.
Only someone who is crazy enough to love the ups and downs of the journey can become a master of their craft.
STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— JOSH WAGGONER