One of the problems with a never-ending supply of information-on-tap is that you get to see the best parts of everything and the reality of nothing. You see a gold-miner panning for gold, you see a street-performer juggling chainsaws, you see a ballerina…doing…ballet…(or whatever), and people say “golly, neat-o, I wanna do that! I wanna brave the harsh wilderness! I wanna wow the crowd under the big top! I wanna….do the splits…(or whatever).”
The easy mistake to make here is confusing what you want to do with what you are want to have done.
An easy example of this is to look at the 75% attrition rate of Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL Training (BUD/S). Plenty of in-shape people show up with visions of grandeur of kicking in doors, blowing stuff up, and jumping out of airplanes. But the reality of getting up at 4 AM and jumping into 55-degree water quickly sets in. With only 25% willing to endure endless days for six months, sand in their nether regions, and 125 continuous hours of training known as “Hell Week.” But it doesn’t even end there! There are two more phases to complete, another six months of SEAL Qualification Training (SQT) following BUD/S, and maybe Combat Medic School, or a follow-on language school before you ever step foot in a SEAL Team. And then…an 18-month workup before you go on an overseas deployment.
Lao Tzu (4th century B.C.), the founder of Taoism, suggested that once someone has achieved mastery in some area, it reflects in every other area of their life. Thinking carefully on it, you might say it isn’t the actual act of doing any of the many things we get presented with every day, but the mastery and knowledge we see accompanying that ability that we want and admire; and besides, we’ve all had the experience of starting off on something with a vision of a grand journey only to wind up mired in misery over having started this stupid trip in the first place.
To that end, leave fun and fame for social media influencers, those things have the shelf life of a snowflake in a microwave…. Instead, take to those unique tasks that seem easier for you than for others, the productive things that come to you naturally, those things that you simply must do, no matter how seemingly unimpressive or mundane. Find the details, find the nuance, and before long, you won’t need to seek out mastery, because mastery will find you.
Quote of the Day
“Its not the daily increase, but the daily decrease. Hack away at the inessentials“