Greetings Dear Friends,
It is an indisputable fact that succeeding in life can be a very challenging feat. Whether you are in business, school, church, corporate organizations, sports or even politics, you need an element of luck, hard and smart work, God factor (which I call grace), great network and both theoretical and practical knowledge amongst other factors in order for you to succeed. Just like the parable of the sower, on the journey to success, some of us fell along the way, some germinated, but weren’t strong enough to withstand the storms of life, while some were able to bear the much-desired fruits with the right nutrients needed for growth. In all these, one thing is certain; to attain any particular level of success, it is important for one to understand or master the art required. This is an uncommon skill which most people don’t have and therefore, it has contributed to some of the challenges militating against their success.
In the course of this article, we shall be discussing how we can develop or master our craft with the mindset of succeeding in any field of endeavor one is passionate about. It’s quite unfortunate to note that a lot of people desire success, but they are not willing to pay the price. Developing or mastering your craft is very critical to succeeding in any endeavor. In civilized climes, most people learn before they earn. Even the word learn confirms the saying by encouraging us to (L)earn before we (E)arn or develop the skill before we can earn.
Developing or learning a skill can be difficult and rewarding at the same time if we are diligent enough to pay the price. We all have the capacity to master any skill, but many of us succumb to pitfalls such as impatience, uncertainty, and fear which cripple our learning and halt progress. In a similar way, we all have the potential to succeed, but we don’t take time to understand and develop our selves/ businesses.
WAYS TO MASTER/SUCCEED IN YOUR CRAFT
Reconnect to Your Roots — Discover Your Calling
The first key to succeeding in life is by knowing yourself and what you are passionate about. In one of my articles which I published a couple of months ago, titled Passion is Stronger than Power, I opined that there’s more to success and life if we focus on passion and value as opposed to focusing on money and material things. I also stated that you’ll get more in life in addition to succeeding if you love what you do more than what you are paid for. Therefore, identifying your areas of interest is a critical part of self-discovery. According to Robert Greene, “The first move toward mastery is always inward — learning who you really are and reconnecting with that innate force. Knowing it with clarity, you will find your way to the proper career path and everything else will fall into place.” It’s worthy of mention that some of us discovered this as children, but it couldn’t see the light of the day as a result of parental or societal pressures which suppressed our ambition.
The Mentor Dynamic
In our contemporary society, we cannot underestimate the power of mentorship in the lives of a progressive-minded person. In one of my most informed articles titled Mentors Are Life Savers, I stressed the importance and role of mentors in fast-tracking the success of any person or organization. Mastering and developing your craft requires mentorship. You cannot underestimate the power of mentors. It is important to note that mentors will not work for you, but they’ll be instrumental in facilitating a smarter way of achieving your vision in a more realistic and dynamic manner. I am a product of mentorship. In the words of Robert Greene, “To learn requires a sense of humility. We must admit that there are people out there who know our field much more deeply than we do. Their superiority is not a function of natural talent or privilege, but rather of time and experience.” According to Greene, he advised four Strategies for finding the perfect Mentor:
1. Choose a mentor according to your needs and inclination: It is important to really know what you want in life. Most people choose mentors for the fun or just to associate with the name. It For instance if you are interested in politics, governance, leadership, academics, writing, sports, entertainment, religion etc., it will be of your own best interest to know the role each of them will play for you as opposed to having one mentor and generalizing him/her. In choosing your a mentor, it’s important to note that, the more specific you are the better for you to get what you need or desire or what output you are looking for. Mentors do provide informal training such as support, confidence, direction, space to discover things on your own.”
2. Gaze deep into the mentor’s mirror: There’s a big difference between a mentor and a role model. In simplest terms, a mentor is someone who teaches and guides you in your area of interest. He/she must be an expert in his/her chosen field of practice. You can have several mentors for several projects. Your mentors can be online or offline. Your mentor can also serve as a role model to you depending on your mission and vision in life. On the other hand, a role model is someone you definitely want to be like. In this sense, you imitate the works of the person, you reading about the person and his/her works in addition to the philosophy and lifestyles. The person can also serve as an inspiration to you. You may not have access to the person like you do for mentors because the person may be far from reach (dead or alive), but the works of the being in question warms your heart. Mentors will point out your weakness, embrace it like constructive because you will gain more confidence through objective feedback.
3. Transfigure their ideas: As you continually learn concepts from your mentor, apply them with your own creative spin. As mentioned, mentors won’t do the work for you, they’ll guide you on the most rational and informed way of succeeding or expanding your vision or business.
4. Create a back and forth dynamic: This isn’t a one-sided relationship. Be very clear about what you want to learn and adjust their instruction to fit your needs. You can appreciate your mentor by adding value to their work. In that way, it becomes a mutualistic friendship as opposed to a symbiotic relationship.
A sense of purpose amplifies grit, ambition, focus and virtually every other characteristic that is needed to achieve mastery. A person could have all of the natural talents in the world, but without practice, that talent will never enable them to achieve mastery. The hallmark of deliberate practice is that you try to do something that you cannot do- that takes you out of your comfort zone. According to Durant “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” Isn’t it true that practice makes perfect? Developing your craft entails practicing. Continuous practice horns your skill. With continuous practicing, you develop more insight into your craft. The interesting thing about hard work is that it doesn’t kill, rather it is lack of work that can kill. We rarely see what went into when we practice, we only see the results. Practice leads to proficiency and determines performance. Practice can be likened to performance: This is because We practice an instrument to play in front of an audience. An athlete practices his sport to play in a game. An actor rehearses to film a movie. A writer writes every day to publish a book. Continuous practice leads to performance, and this is where your level of mastery gets tested and measured.
Discovering your purpose is probably one of the most important decisions to make. When you know your purpose, it will be hard for you to lose interest when you fail. This is because your desire for success should always outweigh your fear of failure. Studies have shown that purpose, autonomy, and mastery are among three forces that drive people to do what they do. It’s instructive to note that passion follows engagement.
You can never master or develop your craft without experiencing failure. Failure is necessary for our growth. So, if you have not experienced failure yet, wait for it and if it comes, turn it into your friend. In the words of Robert Greene, Masters are those who by nature have suffered to get to where they are. They have experienced endless criticisms of their work, doubts about their progress, and setbacks along the way.
Henry Ukazu writes from New York. He works with the New York City Department of Correction as the Legal Coordinator. He’s the author of the acclaimed book Design Your Destiny – Actualizing Your Birthright To Success. He can be reached via email@example.com