How To Be A Master At Something

Would you like to be exceedingly good at something? Of course you do. Everybody does. Most of us want to be good at most of the things we do, if not everything. Being good makes us look better, feel better. Others treat us better, with respect and reverence. But more often than not, we are not as good as we would like to be. To be really good at something is no easy task. It takes lots of practice, perseverance and time. Of those three things, time is the only non-renewable resource. The urge to be good at many things or at least some of the things is a thought that constantly gnaws at younger people because they have a lot to prove but its also a prickly point in the mature population’ mind since its a matter of their legacy. In today’s world, we are told by everyone that we are infinitely powerful and our potential is boundless. But then again, there are only so many things one can possibly do. One cannot read all the books they wanted or do all of the things they wanted; its guaranteed that one will miss a few. My only goal in life is to visit as many places as possible, but I know I’ll miss of lot of destinations. That’s just how it goes. So how does one become a master of something, anything?

For questions of such profound philosophies I turn to internet zen guru, and possible Tiger Woods double, Leo Babauta and his world famous blog Zenhabits. In his recent post he says that his way of getting good at something is to just do that and that alone. Do one thing only and keep doing it until you get very good at it. This kind of makes sense. If you want to be a swimmer, you get down to the pool and start swimming. And you have to keep doing that constantly so that you improve. This we all know. But the other part is the crucial one. In order to keep our focus and energy on the one thing, we should let go of the other things we can afford to let go. There is no point in taking up swimming and painting at the same time and trying to be better at both. Many often do this. We take up too many things and not do as good as we wanted and then we simply give up. As the New York Times reports our will power is like a muscle and just like any other muscle, it gets tired after a workout. If you spend a lot of time focusing on something, say swimming, then its going to be harder to focus on your next thing, like say painting, since your will-power is already fatigued from working hard during your swimming session.

This strategy also involves one of Leo’s (and mine as well) central theme of life – Simplify. What can be more simpler than just doing one thing at a time? All of this of course is easier said than done. We still need to figure out what we want to do, and now more importantly what we don’t want to do? How do we prioritize between things of equal importance? Well, the answer is, again, simplify. Simplify as much as possible and then some more. Although I am far from ideal, I have gotten some good results when I honestly tried to simplify things around me. You should give it a try too.

Do you think this would work for you? I mean, the whole world is about multi-tasking isn’t it? then shouldn’t we also do many things without too much difficulty? I, personally, find it very hard to put honest effort in more than one thing at the same time. Whenever I have tried to multi-task big things, like learning and understanding stuff, I have failed miserably. I think I am a more serialized person, better off just doing one thing at a time.

But how about you? Do you think this would help you, or do you prefer juggling many things at a time? If you do multi-task, how do you keep yourself organized?

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