With any creative activity comes dreary hours of tedious, painstaking labour.

One of the primary goals of adulthood is to select a skill to develop, pursue, and structure your life according to. It is the development of this skill that, or rather, the dedication to it, that largely determines the financial success of a young fledgling.

Understand: dedication to your craft is the ultimate form of security. Like Michelangelo and Da Vinci, your unparalleled devotion to your skills will shift the dynamics of power in your favour. In a world of monarchy, church states, and corruption, both Da Vinci and Michelangelo were able to free themselves, to bait their patrons into persuading them to be their artists, not the other way around.

There is a strikingly similar parallel to the modern world: the search for meaningful employment. As a fledgling, lacking in mastery, you will find yourself in a position not far from that of a beggar, particularly if you are fresh in your field and have many hours of practise awaiting you. You will have to strive to prove your skills, asserting your work ethic and confidence of your eventual success. You seek to secure work by proving your energy, enthusiasm, and commitment to growth.

The issue with that approach, is that you must outgrow it as soon as possible. Such a technique is necessary for beginners, and when combined with youthful vigour, it can be powerfully seductive. You can persuade potential employers to embrace you, even see you as a protege. Unfortunately, you are trading income for the right to be taken a chance on. You are selling yourself at a lower price in order to secure a price at all.

You want to sit at a negotiating table with a maximum degree of power. To do so effectively, you must shed the skin of an ambitious amateur as quickly as possible, and replace it with the image of an immaculate professional. Alas, in order to do so, you must embrace the process of mastery.

In the first strategy, you are openly admitting your lack of progress on the journey to mastery, suggesting your drive will take you with bounds instead of steps. There will come a point when you are no longer interested in talking about your steps, and to actually take them. The journey is a distance of a thousand miles, after all, and it is only each painstaking step, each tedious task, each unusual difficulty, each setback that determines your growth, your character, your refusal to surrender.

It is all too easy to do what you love. For the majority of us, what we love is to be lazy, unproductive, and stress-free simultaneously. We seek to fill a life of distraction, deriving pleasure externally, and our time at work is seen through the lens of necessary evil. What you must strive to do is the opposite of what you love. You must endure the trails and tribulations that mastery of your craft demands, you must match and exceed far beyond the bar. You must be committed to 100% completion, letting the slowness of the hours become your greatest ally, as each minute of intense focus feels as an unfocused second does.

When you are unfocused, unmotivated, and with a task to complete: you feel slow, unproductive, and the hours simply cannot end fast enough, that moment of freedom when you can leave your unloved work stretches across the entire day, a faint glimmer of hope in a rather dark cloud.

On the other hand, focus that derives from interest has the potential to transform the slowness of the hours into blinks of the eye. You stop seeing work in context of hours, and begin to see work in context of milestones. Each milestone brings you heightened happiness, focus, and easy sleep.

It is only in the second frame of mind that the tediousness of difficult creative works becomes merely a thing to do, a connection to form. In our enlightened state of focus, we can transmute the emotional energy of tedium into the necessary building blocks of progress. It is here where our painstaking hours weave into a fabric that is more durable, comfortable, and elegant than all our other previous attempts at weaving.

The quilt, the final product, bears the patterns of our labour, the colours of our thoughts, and the spirit of our soul. As a writer cannot tell a story without injecting his personal life philosophy unconsciously, so a craftsmen cannot develop creative works without infusing them with the flavour of his own soul. Let the difficult hours of work become your greatest ally, for they separate the devoted from the pretenders, the professionals from the amateurs, the philosophers from the writers.

Ilia Reingold

Passionate programmer with an eye for trending developments.

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