Friday, June 29, 2012

A Life Lesson Through Woodworking

I've been thinking a lot about my whittling/woodworking experience yesterday. Though I'm probably only about halfway through whittling out my archery bow, I've grown to love the process of whittling. There is something strangely cathartic about striking a piece of wood with a sharp knife, over and over again, taking off one tiny sliver of wood at a time. I'm learning a life lesson from this process. If you don't mind, I'd like a second of your time to explain my epiphany here.
My light bulb realization-
Mastery takes hard work, painstakingly slow, often painful, hard work. To be good at anything, to accomplish anything of value takes pain, time and dedication. This may sound simple enough, but truly think about it. I'll use myself as an example. All of my life, I've tried to avoid confrontations; but not just with people, with activities as well. This explains why I never reach my goals in my hobbies. As soon as the going gets too hard, I quit and switch over to something easier; choosing short term pleasure over long term gain. Explains why I've struggled at becoming a successful author. I'm always such in a rush to publish something, the quality and quantity of my published works suffer.

Poked and Prodded- A Humorous Medical Memoir
Sure, I've had moderate success with my only fully finished book- Poked and Prodded, but that is only after I took the time with it to do the necessary revisions, rewrites, and edits which brought the story to the standards it should have been at when I first published it. Now, after putting in the difficult work I should have put into it before publishing, Poked and Prodded is a book I am proud to promote and sell. But from start to its finished state took over three months, not including the time it took to write it! Mastery takes hard work. A type of hard work that takes slow precision and dedication to the craft. A type of hard work that has never come naturally to me.

Starting today, I'm going to switch my focus. Instead of driving for short term goals and rewards, I will be shooting for longer lasting, harder to achieve, long term goals and rewards. This is not to say I am going to stop my year long challenge. I will continue reaching my monthly goals. However, I will not take the easy, fast routes to achieve these goals. I will work through the pain and work through the seemingly impossible hard work to achieve my goals. This may mean that some of my goals I will not be able to reach, but I am okay with that, because I will have proven something much more valuable to living a successful life. Mastery is more important than short term rewards.

Mastery is painful. Mastery is hard. Mastery is not easy. Mastery causes problems. Mastery seems impossible, at times. But mastery is worth all of this. When you see your finished product exceed your wildest expectations in the marketplace, when you achieve the highest prize in your field, when you know your best work is shown, seen, and shared by others, the feeling of utter jubilation and pride you experience is unmatched by any short term reward.

So shoot for mastery. Endure the pain. Push on. And one day, you will look back and decide:

it was all worth it.
Life Through Our Eyes

-And so, in the spirit of pursuing the long term, I will be removing the first part of Life Through Our Eyes from Amazon on Monday. I know now that it will be better to wait to reveal Life Through Our Eyes until I am completely finished writing, editing, revising, and rewriting it to perfection. I don't know when this will be, but I know that when Life Through Our Eyes is published again, I will be proud of it.  

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