The path to become a master in anything is a journey full of doing boring things over and over again over a long period of time. And in the process, keep on improvising to add efficiency.
In earlier days in India, when there were no schools or colleges, students used to go a places called Gurukuls to learn .These happened to be somewhere deep in forests with no modern day facilities. Students had to do lot of manual work along with mastering the field they liked.
Student: How long will it take for me to be the great archer
Teacher: 10 years
Student: Only if I didn’t chop wood, carry water everyday, I would get there faster
Teacher: No, in that case, it may take you 20 years”
One does not realize that these daily routines, these trivial things, these boring activities and the monotonous nature of practicing on something on day-to-day basis can lead you to develop great habits. It also teaches you that to get anything you would be doing certain things that you may hate.
You might realize that to path to achieve greatness is not so romantic, it is full of daily hard-work & doubts, doing things that you may not like, doing things where you might not get any credit, realizing that few things are not related to desired outcome but they help you to build character that would help in the result you want to see, waiting for results to show-up and sometimes the results may not be of your liking, and it is also about working with the people who are difficult to work with.
There’s this theory that 90% of work that you do is useless. But you still have to do it because it takes you to those 10% useful activities which are responsible for 1005 of your results. Because without trying various different things, you won’t know usefulness or ROI of different activities.
Fall in love with the process, the boredom.
Chop wood, carry water.
(It refers to certain activities on the path of learning that you may not be able directly correlate with the results you want. Some activities that you might hate. Some activities that build character . Some activities you’re forced to do.)
We all get bored easily with repetitiveness.
But mastering something needs to be repetitive.
And with each repetition you certainly will get bored, doing the same thing repetitively is an open invitation to boredom.
However, despite of the fact that you get bored if you continue to do that something repetitively after you got bored, and you reached the stage of mastering it.
Most of the people leave it at the first stage of boredom. Most of the people leave it when they’re good enough. They want excitement, a stimulant ,something new. But mastery does not happen like that. These constant desires of something new never let them go beyond the stage of ‘good -enough’ in anything.
Michael Jackson mastered his dance moves by practicing the same step thousands of time. Any other individual would not go to that extent.
One of the choreographers that worked with him on the Smooth Criminal short film said that Jackson would spend hours in front of the mirror, practicing every move hundreds of times.
He had been known to practice his dancing in his home studios until he actually would collapse onto the floor in total exhaustion.
He would purposely fast on Sundays to test the stamina of his body without food(Chop wood, carry water).
Jackson is also famous for talking about how important it was for a dancer to stop thinking when they danced. “If you’re in your head you’re dead” was a common phrase.(keep doing ,keep repeating, don’t think too much about it)
In other words…
Fall in love with boredom. Fall in love with doing trivial things that don’t seems very important at the beginning. Fall in love with repetition and practice. Fall in love with the process of what you do and let the results take care of themselves.
Anyone can work hard when they feel motivated.
When you get a pat on the back from someone, you feel great. You want to do more.
You go to gym and you get a compliment from your friends on the shape of your body , you feel pumped up. Who wouldn’t. You feel like you can beat anyone.
As an entrepreneur, you love working when orders are rolling in and things are going well. Getting results has a way of propelling you forward.
But what about when you’re bored? What about when the work isn’t easy? What about when it feels like nobody is paying attention or you’re not getting the results you want?
Are you willing to work through 10 years of silence?
It’s the ability to work when work isn’t easy that makes the difference
Hitting the target is just a by-product.
We all have a tendency to put so much emphasis on getting what we want, hitting the arrow on the target and we put all our energy on focusing solely on whether or not the arrow hits the target.
But research on successful people just shows the opposite.
It tells that if we put that intensity and focus and sincerity into the process—where we place our feet, how we hold the bow, how we breathe during the release of the arrow—then hitting the bullseye is simply a side effect.
The point is not to worry about hitting the target.
The point is to fall in love with the boredom of doing the work and embrace each piece of the process. The point is to take that moment of zanshin, that moment of complete awareness and focus, and carry it with you everywhere in life.
It is not the target that matters. It is not the finish line that matters. It is the way we approach the goal that matters.
The Myth of Passion and Motivation
On this particular day in the gym, there was a coach visiting who had worked with thousands of athletes over his long career, including some nationally-ranked athletes and Olympians.
Someone asked him:
“What’s the difference between the best athletes and everyone else?” I asked. “What do the really successful people do that most don’t?”
He mentioned the factors you might expect: genetics, luck, talent. But then he said something you would not expect: “At some point it comes down to who can handle the boredom of training every day, doing the same lifts over and over and over.”
His answer might have surprised you because it’s a different way of thinking about success.
People talk about getting “amped up” to work on their goals. Whether it’s business or sports or art, you hear people say things like, “It all comes down to passion.” Or, “You have to really want it.”
As a result, many of us get depressed when we lose focus or motivation because we think that successful people have some bottomless reserve of passion. But this coach was saying that really successful people feel the same lack of motivation as everyone else. The difference is that they still find a way to show up despite the feelings of boredom.
According to him, it’s this ability to do the work when it’s not easy that separates the top performers from everyone else. That’s the difference between professionals and amateurs.19 claps