There are many different ways people improve at a certain skill. What works for someone else may not work best for you. Some people like to meditate, while others prefer reading and doing research. I believe the most realistic way to improve on anything is to do it so much it becomes second nature.
You may not publish the best article your first few times writing. You certainly won’t take the best headshots of your life on your first real photoshoot. You without a doubt aren’t going to become the next Kobe Bryant on your 4th day at practice. Remember every single person started as an amateur. Most people are afraid to do something outside of their comfort zone because they don’t want to embarrass themselves by not being good enough. The most powerful way to improve is stepping out of the comfort zone and doing something so many times it becomes a routine.
Doing something that you’re scared of is an essential part of growing. If you aspire to become a well-known photographer but you’re scared to go do a photoshoot with a real client, do 25 shoots a month. You’ll eventually become much more familiar with what clients are looking for, and no longer feel afraid when you get a job. Additionally, you’ll build a reputation in your area for being a great photographer. Definitely more money going into your pocket.
Comfort Zone = Danger Zone.
When I was a kid I remember going into math class and the first thing we saw on our desks was a blank times table sheet. Every day our teacher would time how fast we could fill out the times table or multiplication table. Everyone was extremely slow the first couple days we started doing it. A few weeks later everyone was able to fill theirs out in less than a minute with no problem. It eventually became second nature and as soon as we heard the teacher say “START” the class would fill out every box without evening thinking about it. From my memory of this, I vastly enjoyed doing it.
The three P’s of improvement.
I touched on this slightly above. Sometimes you need to lose 100 times before you figure out how to win. Sometimes you need to publish something shitty 50 times before you really start creating masterpieces. Sometimes actually being more like all the time.
You get better by failing, and learning what not to do.
It takes a massive amount of time and hard work to become great at anything. Success is never achieved by doing mediocre work and by doing the very minimal. Most people quit when they have a small amount of difficulty or trouble. The people who didn’t quit when it got more stressful or they weren’t seeing results are the ones who became the master, the go-to, and the expert. They focused on solving their issue by working harder and more diligently. All the greats in the world have one thing in common. They put maximum effort into mastering a skill and doing what needs to be done when they don’t feel like it. They are extremely persistent.
Passion. If you really want to become the best at something, you need to love every single aspect of it. I would say the ability to know if it’s truly your passion is by asking yourself this question.
Would you do it for the rest of your life knowing you will never even make a penny off it?
Some people don’t understand that question. Most people are along the lines of “Well, why would I do it for the rest of my life If I could never make money off it”. This is why most people quit right before they are about to have a breakthrough.
Sometimes it will take 10 years to get that one year that will change your life.
I believe the only way to become a master and stay persistent is by genuinely loving what you do. It never feels like work when you truly love what you’re doing. When it gets difficult or overwhelming you won’t quit because you couldn’t see yourself being happy if you were unable to do it for the rest of your life. That’s when you know it’s your passion and worth fighting for. Do it for the love, never for the money.
There’s one thing that’s going to skyrocket your growth compared to the competitors in your area. That being how well you listen and learn from the people who’ve built careers or businesses in your industry. Every day you should spend a minimum of one hour producing, and another hour receiving. Obviously, producing would be creating, developing, and building your idea into something you could market or provide value to many people.
If you’re trying to become an author you should spend an hour every day writing a couple paragraphs. If you aspire to become a professional golfer you should hit the driving range every night or at least practice your swing in the backyard of your home. Whatever it is you are trying to master, spend at least one hour a day doing it. Spend another hour researching and exploring it. Focus on improving your strengths and also your weaknesses.
Research, research, research.
There are numerous ways for you to fill your day with content to learn from. You can become smarter by listening to podcasts, watching videos, reading articles, and attending seminars. Stop listening to the radio on the way to work and find a podcast from someone you look up to. For goodness’ sake stop watching Youtube videos that will waste your time and not impact you in any way. Go cancel your Netflix account right now. Pick up some books from the library or off Amazon. Put your damn TV in another room, or better yet.. sell it!
Learn from people who are making a living doing something you are passionate about. Find at least 3 people that are in the position you would like to be in. Do everything in your power to listen and engage with their content on a daily basis. Don’t be a zombie who listens to podcasts but never actually takes action. If your instructor suggests a new type of to-do list that you’ve never tried before, It might be worth trying. This is going to be extremely rude — if you can’t spend 20 minutes per day researching, learning, engaging in something that will help your future or improve your skills, you DON’T have what it takes to become the person you are hoping to be. You will not become the best or even close to the best if you can’t take criticism and seek guidance from those who have done it already. It’s the truth and sometimes the truth hurts.
Stop browsing Instagram, twitter, and facebook. Stop watching non-informal youtube videos, TV, and Netflix.
Start reading, engaging, participating, learning, listening, asking, trying, failing and of course, Improving.
I assure you, it’s going to change your life.
There is always room for improvement. Always.
What makes successful people who they are is their constant hunger for getting better. Finding new solutions, improving an existing product, developing a better one, creating a new method of sharing content, etc. The people who are successful look at every day as a chance to grow. The day you’ve stopped looking for an opportunity to improve is the day you’re no longer successful. I don’t consider you a successful individual if you drive a Rolls Royce yet when you get home you sit down on the couch with your six pack and watch Netflix until midnight.