Geniuses are born with natural talent, right? Or, do we just think that because we meet them after so much hard work has gone into developing their craft? Where did they really start?
Literally days after my daughter took her first steps, we could hardly keep up with her. She fell, of course, but to the outside it seemed like a natural talent.
In reality she had been training for months. The house was her own little gym. She built her leg and arm muscles as she reached for toys and crawled to improve her coordination. She cruised around furniture, practicing the feeling of taking steps with some support. And she fell along the way, learning to pick herself back up. Finally, after 13 months of practice, she took her first step. Then everyone started to pay attention.
When we discover someone successful, we often look at their position and judge it as talented genius. We take all that early effort for granted because we didn’t see it happen – but that is where the magic lies.
“We take all that early effort for granted… but that is where the magic lies”
There are secret advantages to the amateur mind:
- Amateurs have more fun
There is freedom and playfulness in being an amateur.
Our marathon can wait. For now, we get to train everyday without that expectation and wow everyone when we’re ready.
Everything we learn is new and exciting. We lavish the delights in front of us while we build our collection of skills.
- Amateurs learn faster
A smart amateur stands on the shoulders of giants.
We look at those who have come before us and study their technique. We replicate rather than invent. We learn from other’s mistakes – catapulting us toward mastery.
- Amateurs are inventive
When we don’t know ‘how it’s done’ we get to experiment.
This almost always means more work, but we get to learn along the way. Often, we find a fresh way to approach a problem because we’re able to take advantage of new technology and our own unique background. The result is innovation.
- Amateurs Celebrate
You have a thing you’ve been meaning to try but have been putting off out of a subtle fear that you won’t be good at it. Gently put that fear aside and embrace being an amateur. Give yourself permission to have fun, experiment and learn from others. Remember, it’s ok to fall – you’re just building the relevant muscles right now.
The outcome is not so important as the practice.
Here’s a glimpse at the practice I put into the hand lettering image for this post: