Be good at something today

If I could sum up the days that have gone by for me, an apropos would be a mastery of craft. 

The other day, we were at an 1800s preserved town called Sherbrooke Village, where every house is a glimpse of what a village was made of in those times. Even prior to that trip, I had gone to imagining what it was like to live where you had to make bread out of flour before you can eat. Or if we all had to milk cows to drink milk in the morning. Or to know some basic pottery before we can have plates to eat on. If I lived back then, I probably would've taken all day to do everything. What a blissful day that might've been!

Sherbrooke Village's blacksmith

You see, nowadays, things are so easy. Just today, my mother finished a load of laundry and my clothes are all warm from the drier as I type this. Everywhere I go, including the lakeside, which is where I am now, there IS wifi. And while I am mostly happy that things are more convenient, and as with all things that's easy, it can make us take things for granted.

Amongst many other things, our generation is so spoiled and entitled we already demand a promotion after one year. We get impatient at lines, we don't like being ordered around by our bosses and we daydream of building a business instead of focusing well on our jobs. To me, one can only go into business if one is considered an expert or master in that field. An expert is someone who has spent at least 10,000 hours or five years honing that craft {ask Malcolm Gladwell}. There is a reason why the Beatles have been successful only after they've been playing for five years!

So that's your word of advice today from me, courtesy of the blacksmiths, apothecaries, milk maids, wood craft makers of Sherbrooke: Do something with your hands today.

If you're a blogger, read, read, read. Then write, write, write. Bloggers, as a collective, at least in the Philippines are being judged as hacks for not knowing proper grammar to save their lives. Defend this, not by telling naysayers that we can say anything in our blogs because it's ours BUT with a properly written, articulate blog entry. Blogs are this generation's literature, because not many kids these days read books anymore. Be sure to put in something valuable to your reader's minds, and not just what you wore today, ate today, applied on as makeup today {hehe, guilty as charged}. The Internet is free real estate, sure, but to whom much is given, much is asked.

If you're a young professional dabbling in technology, master your craft by creating small projects for your friends, your family or your church. Volunteer to make your church's app for livestreaming, to handle the church's social media accounts, your friend's small business' website. Don't be too snob not to do things for free ---- because in the real world, people are not afraid to pay for quality things and services.

If you're a small business owner, study the ropes of your industry. Scope out technologies on how you can make your craft better. If you are in the cosmetics industry, READ a lot on chemistry, psychology, finances. Don't be limited to what you think you already know --- that is usually the bane of existence that leads to failure. Practice, practice and more practice. Do not stop at 10,000 hours. Use your hands to tinker for the best visual merchandising for your goods.

If you're from the financial services industry, find a mentor. Listen to the experienced folks. Take note from their triumphs and mistakes.

Invest in yourself. Build a career that's beyond you and bigger than you. Use your hands to help other people, wherever you are.

Mastery. This refers to the art of getting better and better at skills and talents that you enjoy using, to the extent that they become intertwined with your identity. Picture a Jedi, or a Samurai, or a master blacksmith.

- Nathaniel Koloc, HBR

When things get hard, and the pursuit of mastery seems impossible or worthless, remember that experts didn't become experts because they don't commit mistakes. It's really true {as cliche and cheesy as it sounds} when they say never give up.

We have forgotten the lost art of mastery. Maybe it is time to bring it back.

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