Hey! Thanks for reading! Just a reminder that I wrote this some years ago, and may have much more complicated feelings about this topic than I did when I wrote it. Happy to elaborate, feel free to reach out to me! 😄
Here's an old, but good article, ostensibly about writing. The author is pretty funny, and I think most of what he writes applies just as well to any endeavor you choose to pursue with any interest.
Having tried to find my theatre identity in college, only to become a computer scientist, the question of "How do I get good at ..." is something I thought about (and continue to think about) all the time. Most of what I think is already present in the article in one form or another, but with my words:
feel like you have to. Otherwise, you won't want to when you will have
to.** The Lorrie Moore quote he opens his article with is almost verbatim to
the most prescient acting advice I've ever received from a professional actor,
when I asked if he had any advice for me going into the Real World: "If you
can be talked out of it, do so."
The idea was crazy at the time, but it turns out I found a way to do it. And while it's hard to imagine for anybody who's only met me in the last 2-3 years, leaving theatre was the hardest thing to do in my life. Science intimidated the hell out of me. It was something I didn't do, it was for those people, and I'd felt my whole life that I should only do what I was good at, and that was Art.
So first things first: if you don't yearn to be amazing in your field, or do amazing things in it, I suggest taking a good look at what you're doing, and asking if you actually want to.*
Stop talking/thinking about it, do it. It's really easy to have big dreams and ideas, and we often talk about them with friends. The hardest part is doing it.
I follow this advice, in that any time I'm thinking of doing something but don't want to, I just say "Just Fucking Do It Now." Works best of anything else I've tried, which is to say, I still leave many tasks unfinished :-p.
In almost the same vein: have a healthy mix of study with that practice. But you probably need the practice more. Which is to say, don't just play 4000 games of Chess or Starcraft or hours at piano without some reflection and critical analysis of how those you look up to do it. You can practice blind, or practice with a guide.
My only reluctance in this guideline is that I tend to put too many hours on the analysis/thinking/observing part, and not enough on the practice part. I'll watch a lot more Starcraft than I play, read more chess books than I play, read about programming languages more than I use them, etc. But I imagine many have the opposite problem.
Well, bloviation complete.
*= Two little notes: a) not everybody wants to be the best/do amazing things at X/Y/Z, they just want to do it, happily, at their own pace. That's totally fine, in which case, carry on ^_^. And b) the bullet point makes it seem like you will know immediately when you love/care about something. It may take some time: I didn't know I was into computer science until I took the theory classes, about a year in.
Thanks for the read! Disagreed? Violent agreement!? Feel free to drop me a line at , or leave a comment below! I'd love to hear from you 😄