The Way of Expert Creation is Hidden in Plain Sight
It aligns best with how you live your life.
Many people quit their childhood hobbies. Perhaps it’s because of a desire for something new, or the intense pressure of having an income. Either way, there’s a lot of activities that falter as people grow up. For me, it was music production.
Somewhere around 2011, I got into the hype of electronic dance music, and it inspired me to make my own songs. I wanted to become the next big DJ, create some “bangers” and have my music play at festivals. And so, I downloaded a music production software and started working.
It was fun. Playing around with different sounds and learning the landscape of music was rewarding. And it didn’t take long before I was hooked, devoting hour upon hour.
I continued to produce music for years. But somewhere around 2018, I started to lose my interest in it. It had been fading for some time now, spending less time on it, and it eventually reached a point where I decided to quit altogether.
At the time, writing had become a major part of my life. And I decided to go all in on that instead.
And I’m glad I did. It was a decision that changed something for me. Because not only did I get better at putting words to existence, but my existence itself improved. Through learning my new hobby of writing, failing at first but trying to master it, I was forced to learn things that prompted better living:
- I learned to increase my work capacity by having a routine.
- I internalized that work should be done thoroughly, or not at all.
- I learned the value of looking to others for help.
Today, I’ve started producing again. And the things I learned through writing has translated into my newfound spark for music production. In fact, it took almost no time to get back to my previous level, and even surpass it.
Here’s why it was possible:
Living Better Allows You to Create Better
A few days ago, as I was reading in Robert M. Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, I came across this passage:
“You want to know how to paint a perfect painting? It’s easy. Make yourself perfect and then just paint naturally. That’s the way all the experts do it… The making of a painting or the fixing of a motorcycle isn’t separate from the rest of your existence. If you’re a sloppy thinker the six days of the week you aren’t working on your machine, what can make you all of a sudden sharp on the seventh?”
That’s it! Pirsig is right, I thought. That’s the way all the experts do it. It’s been hiding in plain sight; of course that’s how they do it. And that’s what I’ve been approaching too! As I was busy making improvements in my life as a whole, I improved in my music production too.
When I returned to it, I could just apply all the things I learned while away. Of course, I hadn’t learned anything about actual music production, but I had learned a host of other life-skills.
And it’s the way all things work. If you make improvements in one area of your life, you will inevitably pick up something that will make you better in another. And vice versa. It’s possible my writing will improve now because of my music.
Everything affects everything. At large, there is no separation between the life you live and the things you do. It all goes together. As Pirsig said:
“The [work] that appears to be “out there” and the person that appears to be “in here” are not two separate things. They grow or fall together.”
If you think it’s an interesting idea, I encourage you to try it out. Aim to improve your living, and you might start to see changes in your work. Or perhaps try to approach perfection in your work first and see what kind of impact it will have on your life.
When you live better, you create better. And when you create better, you make improvements to existence. Everything grows or falls together. Now you see it: the way of expert creation is a way of life.
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