5 ways to get so good at your craft that someone starts paying you for it.

image credit: Thewritepractice

You’ve probably heard about spending the regulated 10,000 hours working on your area of interest in order to become a master at it. Well, that is never going to run out of weight – but really ten thousand hours?? With the way knowledge is splashed around today, I’d be a doctor after ten thousand hours.

Perhaps the best way to get very good at something would have to start with setting the target; getting paid for something and living off it. This is a serious target and worth every next step that follows on the road to getting calls asking you to offer the thing and have your account loaded. It is very possible, I have seen it happen.

 

1. Who do you want to be like?

Pick someone that has managed to embody the very thing you wish to become, there are plenty of people with the perfect profiles and work portfolios that I managed to look at and worked towards becoming at par level. While it is okay to want something totally new, beating a level that you have seen is much easier and gives you satisfaction when someone says, ‘…hey, the way you do this reminds me of [insert professional here]…’.

 

2. Cut out other goals and focus on just one.

There are a lot of people who do many things at the same time, they do manage to look very busy, but they can never be the best at all the things they are doing (quote this later). Laser sharp attention to everything you do towards becoming great at your craft, that is the only way you can get there in the shortest time possible.

 

3. Prepare for failure.

While a smooth road will be somewhat the best way to go, you won’t find one. It is better to know that from the get-go. Toughen your skin, there will be a lot of people telling you that you are not good enough (yes you are not good…yet), but you will have the last laugh when you reach your goal, and become much better than they ever thought.

 

4. Get used to not sleeping.

There are nights when all I do is write, some nights I sit and watch motivation videos (do this too), and others I go over my work fixing mistakes and learning from web-tutorials how the best are doing it. There is no hour worth relaxing, it all pays off later when you can designate work to your trainees while you sleep. Work towards that every second you are alive and it will come to you sooner.

 

5. Test yourself.

The only way you will know if you are as good as you wanted to be when you started is if you test yourself. Create a habit of doing that thing you want every once in a while, daily would be perfect, and take something out of the experience every time you finish and rest. Sooner than later you will realize how good you have become and all the sweat will turn into sweet victory (money).

After every step has built in you the character and confidence that the best people all have, your greatest challenge will be to keep developing your craft. Even the best sportspeople get off their pole positions when they sit and relax for too long. Learn from that, don’t wait for 10,000 hours to go by for you to have grasped that simple truth. 

You could be doing that too

Ever wondered how some people seem to be able to do just about everything while all you do is sit at some office desk and watch? Yes they can, watch all matches of the T20 world cup, be in India if they are really good at what I’m going to tell you and come back so that you can bump their shoulders in the mall and get that ‘hey I know you’ feeling.

If you’re working and it’s getting you nowhere, you need to sit one day out and reevaluate your situation. You may be lucky enough to change your course…from one where 30 years later you still fear being fired and leaving with nothing, to one where you have the salaries of 50 people coming your way. It really is possible.

Become a freelancer.

That’s all I’m going to say. Comment if you need more info on how you can do this. Till then, ciao.

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Drunk blogging.

drunk blogging

When you start drinking at home make sure to switch off the wifi and plug in all the devices so that when you wake up the only slow machine is you. I say wake up because if you still drink and remember what you did throughout the blur you need to go back to the drawing board and get your priorities straight (stolen). Maybe you don’t work hard enough to want that induced sleep that wakes you when it’s time to make up for money spent and time lost.

Anyhow, this post has nothing to do with your hustle, God bless your hustle.

Right before your brain switches from firing and hitting exact thoughts to firing all thoughts (thanks to the alcohol) you should pull out your notepad and get scribbling. I know a lot of inventors who wish they had written down the ideas that flew into their heads when they were almost drunk. Those inventors haven’t invented squat in their lives – you are one of them.

So how about it, capture the ideas that come to mind when everything else blurs out and all that’s left is an overactive brain. This was obviously not going to be a long post, just an activator; from one active mind to another.

Traffic ongestion when it rains: Stupid driving or

thewordsmith2016

I simply don’t understand why there’s massive congestion in Harare when it rains. It doesn’t matter if it’s a few showers or a downpour. Of course roads get slippery, visibility is reduced and drivers have to drive slower and carefully but the congestion is simply not proportional. I think our drivers switch to stupid, selfish mode- that’s the only explanation. Except for combi drivers (unfortunately) and a few other drivers, we’re all to blame for the unnecessary congestion that bedevils the City when it rains. As a collective, we’re just stupid when we see the rain while driving.

My opinion is that, no amount of safe driving tips during wet weather can help counter the ridiculous congestion in the City. It has to do with how we treat the situation and each other when it rains. The situation is compounded when there is an uncontrolled intersection. Each driver wants to…

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You probably know to ask yourself, “What do I want?” Here’s a way better question

Think about what you want.

Everybody wants what feels good. Everyone wants to live a carefree, happy and easy life, to fall in love and have amazing sex and relationships, to look perfect and make money and be popular and well-respected and admired and a total baller to the point that people part like the Red Sea when you walk into the room.

Everyone would like that—it’s easy to like that.

If I ask you, “What do you want out of life?” and you say something like, “I want to be happy and have a great family and a job I like,” it’s so ubiquitous that it doesn’t even mean anything.

A more interesting question, a question that perhaps you’ve never considered before, is what pain do you want in your life? What are you willing to struggle for? Because that seems to be a greater determinant of how our lives turn out.

Everybody wants to have an amazing job and financial independence—but not everyone wants to suffer through 60-hour work weeks, long commutes, obnoxious paperwork, to navigate arbitrary corporate hierarchies and the blasé confines of an infinite cubicle hell. People want to be rich without the risk, without the sacrifice, without the delayed gratification necessary to accumulate wealth.

Everybody wants to have great sex and an awesome relationship—but not everyone is willing to go through the tough conversations, the awkward silences, the hurt feelings and the emotional psychodrama to get there. And so they settle. They settle and wonder “What if?” for years and years and until the question morphs from “What if?” into “Was that it?” And when the lawyers go home and the alimony check is in the mail they say, “What was that for?” if not for their lowered standards and expectations 20 years prior, then what for?

Because happiness requires struggle. The positive is the side effect of handling the negative. You can only avoid negative experiences for so long before they come roaring back to life.

At the core of all human behavior, our needs are more or less similar. Positive experience is easy to handle. It’s negative experience that we all, by definition, struggle with. Therefore, what we get out of life is not determined by the good feelings we desire but by what bad feelings we’re willing and able to sustain to get us to those good feelings.

People want an amazing physique. But you don’t end up with one unless you legitimately appreciate the pain and physical stress that comes with living inside a gym for hour upon hour, unless you love calculating and calibrating the food you eat, planning your life out in tiny plate-sized portions.

People want to start their own business or become financially independent. But you don’t end up a successful entrepreneur unless you find a way to appreciate the risk, the uncertainty, the repeated failures, and working insane hours on something you have no idea whether will be successful or not.

People want a partner, a spouse. But you don’t end up attracting someone amazing without appreciating the emotional turbulence that comes with weathering rejections, building the sexual tension that never gets released, and staring blankly at a phone that never rings. It’s part of the game of love. You can’t win if you don’t play.

What determines your success isn’t “What do you want to enjoy?” The question is, “What pain do you want to sustain?” The quality of your life is not determined by the quality of your positive experiences but the quality of your negative experiences. And to get good at dealing with negative experiences is to get good at dealing with life.

There’s a lot of crappy advice out there that says, “You’ve just got to want it enough!”

Everybody wants something. And everybody wants something enough. They just aren’t aware of what it is they want, or rather, what they want “enough.”

Because if you want the benefits of something in life, you have to also want the costs. If you want the beach body, you have to want the sweat, the soreness, the early mornings, and the hunger pangs. If you want the yacht, you have to also want the late nights, the risky business moves, and the possibility of pissing off a person or ten thousand.

If you find yourself wanting something month after month, year after year, yet nothing happens and you never come any closer to it, then maybe what you actually want is a fantasy, an idealization, an image and a false promise. Maybe what you want isn’t what you want, you just enjoy wanting. Maybe you don’t actually want it at all.

Sometimes I ask people, “How do you choose to suffer?” These people tilt their heads and look at me like I have twelve noses. But I ask because that tells me far more about you than your desires and fantasies. Because you have to choose something. You can’t have a pain-free life. It can’t all be roses and unicorns. And ultimately that’s the hard question that matters. Pleasure is an easy question. And pretty much all of us have similar answers. The more interesting question is the pain. What is the pain that you want to sustain?

That answer will actually get you somewhere. It’s the question that can change your life. It’s what makes me me and you you. It’s what defines us and separates us and ultimately brings us together.

For most of my adolescence and young adulthood, I fantasized about being a musician — a rock star, in particular. Any badass guitar song I heard, I would always close my eyes and envision myself up on stage playing it to the screams of the crowd, people absolutely losing their minds to my sweet finger-noodling. This fantasy could keep me occupied for hours on end. The fantasizing continued up through college, even after I dropped out of music school and stopped playing seriously. But even then it was never a question of if I’d ever be up playing in front of screaming crowds, but when. I was biding my time before I could invest the proper amount of time and effort into getting out there and making it work. First, I needed to finish school. Then, I needed to make money. Then, I needed to find the time. Then … and then nothing.

Despite fantasizing about this for over half of my life, the reality never came. And it took me a long time and a lot of negative experiences to finally figure out why: I didn’t actually want it.

I was in love with the result—the image of me on stage, people cheering, me rocking out, pouring my heart into what I’m playing—but I wasn’t in love with the process. And because of that, I failed at it. Repeatedly. Hell, I didn’t even try hard enough to fail at it. I hardly tried at all.

The daily drudgery of practicing, the logistics of finding a group and rehearsing, the pain of finding gigs and actually getting people to show up and give a shit. The broken strings, the blown tube amp, hauling 40 pounds of gear to and from rehearsals with no car. It’s a mountain of a dream and a mile-high climb to the top. And what it took me a long time to discover is that I didn’t like to climb much. I just liked to imagine the top.

Our culture would tell me that I’ve somehow failed myself, that I’m a quitter or a loser. Self-help would say that I either wasn’t courageous enough, determined enough or I didn’t believe in myself enough. The entrepreneurial/start-up crowd would tell me that I chickened out on my dream and gave in to my conventional social conditioning. I’d be told to do affirmations or join a mastermind group or manifest or something.

But the truth is far less interesting than that: I thought I wanted something, but it turns out I didn’t. End of story.

I wanted the reward and not the struggle. I wanted the result and not the process. I was in love not with the fight but only the victory. And life doesn’t work that way.

Who you are is defined by the values you are willing to struggle for. People who enjoy the struggles of a gym are the ones who get in good shape. People who enjoy long workweeks and the politics of the corporate ladder are the ones who move up it. People who enjoy the stresses and uncertainty of the starving artist lifestyle are ultimately the ones who live it and make it.

This is not a call for willpower or “grit.” This is not another admonishment of “no pain, no gain.”

This is the most simple and basic component of life: our struggles determine our successes. So choose your struggles wisely, my friend.

This post originally appeared on MarkManson.net. Follow @iammarkmanson on Twitter.