We tend to romanticise talent as something mysterious and unattainable. Something borne out of grand gestures or extraordinary moments, but it’s the relentless dedication to the boring, day-to-day details that lead to the mastery of a craft.
The Illusion of Overnight Success
Our age is obsessed with overnight success – “I make $5m a month on my drop-shipping side hustle! Join My discord and buy my course, and I’ll show you how you can do it too”. It takes effort to remind ourselves that greatness is not achieved in one giant leap. Rather, it is the daily grind of refining and mastering the small components of our skills that leads to grand achievements.
So, what do we actually have to do to make this happen? Read on…
1. Sweat the Small Stuff
Yes, have an end goal, but embrace the granularity of getting there. Isolate and refine the smaller parts that make up our skills to ensure that the quality of the whole reflects the excellence of individual components.
2. Focus on the Next Small Step
While big goals are exciting, the path to mastery is paved with gradual and imperceptible improvement over time.
“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.” – Robert Collier
Prioritizing incremental growth is key to long-term success.
3. Discipline is a Skill
Mastering discipline is tough. It requires us to embrace boring tasks and committing to them repeatedly over long periods of time. Focus on bettering your inner-world and treat discipline as another skill to master.
“Discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want most.” – Abraham Lincoln
Essentially, you’re training yourself to consistently act toward achieving what’s important over getting what you want right now.
The Big Picture of Mastery and Excellence
Mastery is not a final destination. It is the path that is paved with boredom and discomfort. Motivation and inspiration are fleeting, we don’t need them to produce great outcomes. Like climbing a mountain, the view changes as we start walking and growing in ability and experience.
Terms like “talented” and “gifted” cloud our understanding of achievement and hinder our personal growth. While the outcome may appear glamorous, the process to get there is anything but. Excellence demands taking responsibility for our own outcomes and embracing the mundane.
We must shift our focus from grand gestures to the small, mundane details. It is in the unwavering attention to these little things we take for granted that true greatness is born. Excellence and mastery is found not at the destination, but in the journey itself.
“Little by little, one travels far.” – J.R.R. Tolkien