Inspiring Enchantment & Illumination with Tarot & Intuitive Guidance

Achieving Mastery

Baby stepsWhen the world says, “Give up,”
Hope whispers, “Try it one more time.”

— Author Unknown

I just love how there is a magic of synchronicity that happens on the Web. Often, when I am focusing on a particular topic, as if by coincidence (but we know better, don’t we?), some of my favorite bloggers, from very different viewpoints, will often be posting on parallel, even identical, topics.

One of the most frequent blogs that seems to do this lately is Zen Habits. Just yesterday, Zen’s author, Leo Babauta, posted his musings about what it takes to achieve mastery.  It echoes precisely what we’re working with here.

As we discussed yesterday, many of us are in a bind as we attempt to birth ourselves as artists. We discover that our deepest blocks may be rooted in the fear that if we don’t achieve spectacular success quickly, our skeptical parents (or other loved ones, whose good opinion we need) will be proven right. And we will have hurt, angered, or alienated them for nothing.

But mastery does not come overnight. As Leo notes, “Very often you’ll see blog posts or books teaching you to ‘master’ a skill in only 10 days, or 3 days … in fact, it used to be 30 days but the time frame to master something seems to be shrinking rapidly.

“I’ve even seen tutorials claiming to teach a skill in just a few hours. Pretty soon we’ll be demanding to know how to do something in seconds. Instant mastery of skills and knowledge! Hey presto!

“Unfortunately, the reality is something a little less magical. Or maybe that’s a fortunate thing. There’s only one way to become good at something:

1. First, you must learn it by reading or listening to others who know how to do it, but most especially by doing.

2. Then do some more. At this point, you’ll start to understand it, but you’ll suck. This stage could take months.

3. Do some more. After a couple of years, you’ll get good at it.

4. Do some more. If you learn from mistakes, and aren’t afraid to make mistakes in the first place, you’ll go from good to great.”

So here’s the dilemma. When we decide to honor our inner longing to create, there is just no way that we will have instant greatness. If we even hope to be successful, productive creators, we will have to let go of our need to be a superstar artist.

In her own italics, Julia emphasizes, “The need to be a great artist makes is hard to be an artist.

“The need to produce a great work of art makes it hard to produce any art at all.”

What does greatness look like to you? By what standards are you possibly measuring your current attempts (or planned attempts)? What fears do you find coming up as we move to this new stage of getting to the bottom of things (and healing)? Does any of this resonate at all?

Please share!  More tomorrow!

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  • November 5, 2009, 4:00 pm M. Ashley

    Funny you should talk about synchronicity–I was just pondering last night the fear-based roots of my need to be a rockstar writer NOW! Thank you so much for posting this–I especially love the steps to mastery, key to which is giving yourself permission to suck. I think of when I was learning the violin. Unlike writing, I wasn’t learning the violin for a career, merely personal betterment and enjoyment. In the first several weeks of learning it, I remember getting a huge kick out of how ragingly BAD I was. My favorite thing to say was, “I may not play it right, but I sure do play it LOUD!”

    This is the attitude I wish with all my soul to adopt about my writing. I want to be tickled when my writing sucks out LOUD, to not only allow myself to make mistakes, but to take as much joy and pleasure in them as I did my “cat in the blender” violining.

    -M. Ashley

  • November 5, 2009, 4:56 pm Beth

    Yes! Yes! EXACTLY!!!!
    Thank you!!!

  • November 5, 2009, 6:54 pm Anita Joy

    As a Renaissance Woman (interested in everything; everything is interesting), my challenge is getting out of the Fire stage of planning, ideas and inspiration and grounding those gee-whiz-you-bewt creatives ideas into Earthly manifestations. I practice my creativity every day in whatever form it wishes to take with the certainty that I cannot NOT become a Master/Artisan. I’ve been doing this pretty much for the last 42 years. Kicking the limiting mind-set of ‘this is my hobby/interest’ has been integral to recognising myself as a Creative – always have been, always will be. I no longer feel ‘guilty’ about not wanting to return to office work. My butt always did look big in that round hole anyways! To lampoon a popular TV advertisement from the 80s: “It won’t heppen overnight, but it well heppen”