I came across a great post recently:
Earl Nightingale researched and taught about success for decades, and
he took his job seriously.
His work is often forgotten now, but if you can find it, it is definitely worth your time. It was very helpful to me.
One of Earl’s more interesting lessons was this:
This is true. And I know it’s true because I took Earl’s advice and became an expert.
Perhaps it will take longer than six months for a difficult subject,
but 30 minutes per day – if you actually use the time for serious study every day – is a LOT of focused time.
How to Do It
This is far easier than you might think, as long as you can make hard
decisions and run your own life… and refuse to live by the expectations
That means that you have to be able to say “no.” That means that you
can accept the fact that others will be disappointed in you. You must be
able to do what you think is right, regardless of their repeated
When I first did this, it involved NOT having lunch with the people I
worked with. I went off on my own and read while eating. Some of my
colleagues thought I was being rude or weird, but I did it anyway.
Then, when my co-workers went out after work, I went home. I smiled,
explained that I didn’t like drinking and that I had too much to do at
home. And then I went home and read. They shook their heads but soon
So, when the other guys go out to lunch, sit by yourself and read. When they go out after work, go home and study. If friends or family don’t like it, do it anyway. Be different. Assure them that there is no insult intended, but take whatever heat is required and do what’s best for you…
I didn’t start out a gardening expert or a good writer. And I didn’t pick up the guitar or a paintbrush one day and play ripping solos or paint a great landscape.
I learned what skills I have through lots… and lots… and lots of research and practice. Right now, 13 years after I graduated from art school with a lot of crummy postmodern philosophy in my head and very little in the way of solid art skills, I’m working at my craft of painting again in a systematic way… the way I should have done it to begin with.
One day, back when I worked a “real” job, I remember showing a piece of ridiculous art I’d created to one of my colleagues. His response was “You’ve got too much time on your hands.”
We don’t, though. We really don’t get that much time. And what time we do have is often wasted watching TV and surfing the ‘net in search of mindless entertainment. Even making something ridiculous gives you some practice.
If you want to get good at something, you need to stay at it. You need to make it a part of you.
If you do that in the garden… you’ll eventually become a master. Do that with your painting and you’ll rise above the pack. Do it with a martial art and you’ll become graceful and deadly.
Just don’t sit around.