Want to Achieve Mastery in Anything? Do More.
When you’re just starting, you’re probably bad at whatever it is you’re doing. You have bad ideas, and you desperately want to improve.
Nobody is a born expert. But we are born with certain knacks that can make us experts in fields we feel exclusively drawn to.
I am obsessed with collecting ideas, wisdom, and knowledge from other people.
Last year (2019), I published a book (in Russian) called “10 mentors” — it was a 14-month journey of interviewing the most successful people I could find in my home city. My Moleskine notebooks are filled with wit and wisdom I find online — from my ‘heroes,’ who don’t even know I exist.
One thing I’ve noticed about people who have achieved mastery is that they produce little. But very high-quality.
Think about it:
Tim Ferriss writes one book every few years or so.
The Beatles created an album every few years.
ABBA created a few hit songs that are replayed 30 years since.
Instead of creating a lot of mediocre projects, successful people focus on creating 1–2 masterpieces.
It seems that patience, dedication, and high-quality creation is what successful people do.
But for us — people who are just starting — that’s not the case.
Quantity is the way forward.
‘I am bad at writing.’
Ok. Then write poorly. Put in the intentional effort of writing poorly — to the best of your current abilities — as much as possible.
Make a blog, and then another one. I’ve been blogging for five years, and I hadn’t made a dime from blogging until four months ago when I started writing on Medium.
If your writing is bad, keep writing. With time, you’ll start to write better.
‘I don’t have any good ideas’
The question is, do you have any bad ideas? Do you have any ideas at all?
Get a waiter’s pad. Try writing ten ideas per day, every day. Ideas about what? I don’t know anything.
- Ten ways to become a millionaire this year
- Ten books you could possible write
- Ten ways to have good ideas
- Ten ideas for lunch today
You’ve got to start working on that idea muscle of yours. Give it a few months, and you’ll become an idea machine.
Any good idea requires nine bad ones. The key is to gain momentum with quantity. The more (bad) ideas you generate, the faster you’ll have the good ones.
‘I don’t know how to build a business.’
If we forget about Elon Musks, Jack Dorseys, Steve Jobs, and all of those people on the entrepreneurial pedestal for a second, we get normal people. People who have started businesses and failed. Many times.
Then they got up and failed again. And again. And again. And then they succeeded.
The question is not whether you can build a successful business. The question is whether you’re bold and courageous enough to get up when you fail and try one more time.
Instead of trying to succeed, try failing as much as possible so that success comes organically.
You only need one success anyway.
With such an attitude, you’ll build a successful business.
Quantity is the Way to Quality
It seems that the rule of 10,000 hours (and let’s assume that it’s true) works the following way: you do a lot, become an expert, and then you can relax.
Hence, if you want to become a great writer — write ten books. 11th will be a bestseller.
If you want to become a blogger but don’t know where to start — write 1,000 posts. Then we’ll talk.
If you want to become an entrepreneur — have ten failures. Then ten more. Then you’ll learn so much that success will be the only natural way forward.
Yes, masters create few masterpieces. Yes, they focus on quality. But to get there, you’ve got to work on quantity first.
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