Honing Your Craft
You do not have to be an athletic superstar, a world-renown artist, or a famous musician to be professionally skilled. We are all skilled at something. Some people are exceptional caretakers while others can put together Ikea furniture without missing any screws. If you’ve ever tried to do something new, which everyone has at some point in their lives, you’ll come to appreciate everyone’s individual skills and realize that every single human being serves a purpose. “How does someone become professionally skilled at anything?” you may ask. Well, they do it by honing their craft.
“You must immerse yourself in your work. You have to fall in love with your work … You must dedicate your life to mastering your skill. That’s the secret of success.” ― Chef Jiro
What does it mean to hone your craft?
You know the saying, “practice makes perfect”, right? Well since nothing in this life is perfect, it’s safe to say that it’s quite misleading. Achieving perfection is an impossible task and attempting to do so will only delay your progression in life. Properly developing your skills over a period of time to become the best in your field is the true definition of honing your craft. Practice does help to hone your skills drastically but it heavily depends on the field you’re in.
For example, to be great at writing, you must write, but most importantly it’s imperative that you’re well-read. Reading opens up your mind and expands your reality to worlds you’d never dream of before. The practice represented here is the writing part but the curveball that gets thrown into the mix is being well-read too. They work hand in hand.
It takes more than practice
Honing your craft takes more than practice― it’s a combination of things. Researching, for one, will always be the start of any journey. Learning from those who have gone before you and made a way for you to follow and experimenting with different methods to see exactly what strategies fit your personality all play a vital role.
It is believed that the minimum required time to become an expert in a field is to spend 10,000 hours practicing. One year is made up of 8,760 hours, since math is not my strongest suit I’ll leave this calculation for you to solve. How long will it take you to get to 10,000 practice hours? Take into consideration that it is impossible to spend twenty-four hours per day, every day of the year, working on your skills. This is by no means a challenge and it should not be perceived that way.
Attempting to practice twenty-four hours, every day would drastically affect your health. To properly function the most important basic needs of the body are sleep, food, and water, these should not be omitted in the pursuit of your goals and dreams. These should be at the forefront when planning and executing your personal development plan.
Your health should never be put on the back burner when you’re chasing your goals.
How can I hone my skills?
The Traditional Route
How you go about honing your skills is entirely your choice. You are the ruler of your destiny. If you choose the traditional way, going to school or university, then make sure to research that school’s history and successes before you take the leap. I’m a firm believer that everyone should go to school because it is the number one place that allows you to experiment, with guided help, with different methods in the field of your choice.
The Non-Traditional Route
For the people who despise school, there’s always another route. Get an internship at the place you’d love to work and observe their day to day operations. I’m not a fan of unpaid or ‘get my coffee’ internships which is why when I was a college student, I stayed very far away from them. Internships that throw the intern into the mix is the best way to understand and evaluate if that industry is right for you. On-the-job training always leads to a better understanding of that field. You will definitely be confused as hell for the first few weeks but the longer you stay, the more you’ll understand how everything flows.
The New-Age Route
If internships are not your thing then turn to the internet, there are plenty of online courses that will guide you in your respective field. We are living in the age of technology and, to keep up with it, the ever-changing world of online courses is constantly being updated. During your research, always check to see when the course was updated. If that information is not available, email the creator for the course. Your deciding factor for taking that course should be whether that creator responded to you or not. Look at it this way: if they really care about their students they will make sure that all inquiries are answered.
“It took me a lifetime.” ― Pablo Picasso
Whichever route you choose, the road ahead will be filled with adventure and obstacles. View every obstacle as a lesson because that’s what they are: lessons in disguise. Be gentle with yourself and keep working towards your goals every day.
“To become a master at any skill, it takes the total effort of your: heart, mind, and soul working together in tandem.” ― Maurice Young