3 motivational stories about the importance of mastering your skills — no excuses
When can you truly say that you have mastered your skill? Have you mastered any skills? If so which — share in the comment section.
In psychology, there is a very interesting phenomenon that partially deals with this topic called and it’s called “the Dunning Kruger effect”. Basically, the Dunning Kruger effect deals with the problem of not enough experienced people thinking that they have mastered their skills and are very confident and verbal about them. On the other hand, the problem of people who have mastered their skills is that they are too humble, nearly not enough “loud”, and are not willing to expose themselves too much out of fear that they have not yet mastered their skills enough.
Finding something that you like or even better love to do is one key factor of mastering it, but then there is so much more. An interesting book that I have read on this topic was by Malcolm Gladwell — Outliers, where at the start of the book he talks about the 10.000-hour rule and other key elements that make you an Outlier in your field. To help you get there let's take a look at three stories that will motivate you on your path to mastering your chosen skill. And if you know anyone who could use a little bit of motivation share with them these stories.
Story number 1: When your weakness becomes your biggest strength
A 10-year-old boy decided to study judo despite the fact that he had lost his left arm in a devastating car accident.
The boy began lessons with an old Japanese judo master. The boy was doing well, so he couldn’t understand why, after three months of training the master had taught him only one move. “Sensei,”(Teacher in Japanese) the boy finally said, “Shouldn’t I be learning more moves?” “This is the only move you know, but this is the only move you’ll ever need to know,” the sensei replied.
Not quite understanding, but believing in his teacher, the boy kept training. Several months later, the sensei took the boy to his first tournament. Surprising himself, the boy easily won his first two matches. The third match proved to be more difficult, but after some time, his opponent became impatient and charged; the boy deftly used his one move to win the match. Still amazed by his success, the boy was now in the finals.
This time, his opponent was bigger, stronger, and more experienced. For a while, the boy appeared to be overmatched. Concerned that the boy might get hurt, the referee called a time-out. He was about to stop the match when the sensei intervened. “No,” the sensei insisted, “Let him continue.” Soon after the match resumed, his opponent made a critical mistake: he dropped his guard. Instantly, the boy used his move to pin him. The boy had won the match and the tournament.
He was the champion. On the way home, the boy and sensei reviewed every move in each and every match. Then the boy summoned the courage to ask what was really on his mind.
“Sensei, how did I win the tournament with only one move?”
“You won for two reasons,” the sensei answered. “First, you’ve almost mastered one of the most difficult throws in all of judo. And second, the only known defense for that move is for your opponent to grab your left arm.” Finally, the boy learned that his biggest “weakness” had become his biggest strength.
Story number 2: What does it take to become the best
Many, many years ago, there was once a swordsmith, that was known worldwide for his reputation for creating swords of unparallel quality. People revered this man. He was the greatest master of his craft in the world.
One day a great king had heard about this swordsmith and wanted to meet him no matter the cost. So the king’s people went out and found this swordsmith in a very distant and small village, and they brought the swordsmith to meet the king. The swordsmith came in and was very humbled to get the opportunity to meet the king. The king, in return, was also very gracious and welcoming.
Then the king asked the swordsmith his favorite question when he would meet a master. He said, “Swordsmith, what is the secret to your extraordinary excellence at what you do?” The swordsmith said, “It’s very simple my King. Ever since I was a young child, I was exposed to the craft of making swords. I fell in love with it. It didn’t only speak to my head and my logic, it spoke to me at the deepest and soulful level. It spoke to my heart. And then when I was a young child, I made a decision that I would be the master swordsmith. So as I grew up, I read books on sword crafting, and if something did not relate to sword crafting, if it did not have the word sword in it, if it did not look like a sword, if it had nothing to do with the art of sword crafting, I did not spend my time with it. That is the secret of my mastery.”
Story number 3: How much is your work worth
A woman is walking through the streets of Paris when she spots Pablo Picasso sitting at a cafe drinking coffee. She is overcome with the urge to approach him.
“Oh, Monsieur Pablo Picasso! I’m such a huge fan of your work. I hate to bother you, but I wouldn’t forgive myself if I didn’t take the opportunity to ask if you might make a portrait of me. Please, it would mean so much to me. I’d gladly pay you any amount you ask for it!”
Picasso agrees, and the woman sits with him. He pulls out a sheet of paper and a pencil, and in a few moments, she has her very own Picasso.
“Oh!” she gushes, “It is so beautiful, I’m so honored. I will cherish this forever! Now, what do I owe you?”
“Fifteen thousand francs.” says the artist.
“FIFTEEN THOUSAND FRANCS?!? But it only took you a couple of minutes!” she protests.
“No, madam, that is where you are mistaken. It took me my entire life.”
What are the key lessons from these 3 stories? Let me know in the comment section. For me:
- value your work and time even if others don’t(story 3),
- even though others might see you as weak or that you have a weakness you should find a way and use that as your advantage (story 1),
- never be afraid to ask for help from the people who already mastered what you want to learn (story 1),
- most importantly keep the focus on the thing that is most important to you. If you want to master a certain skill dedicate as much time as you can to that and be aware of distractions (story 2).
For more stories check out my other post or you can find even more stories and other posts on my blog at this link.
Have a great day!