Michael Phelps makes swimming look smooth.
Meryl Streep acts flawlessly.
Elon Musk transforms visions into a reality, unlike anyone.
Each of these people has mastered their craft in a way many only dream of doing. In a world where everyone shows only their accomplishments, best photos and epic life moments it can be so easy to forget what it really takes to get there.
As a writer, here are 4 ways I stay uplifted in the pursuit of mastering my craft.
1. Don’t compare your day one to someones day 10,000.
When you have an idol or mentor, that is great, however, resist the urge to compare where they are to where you stand today. It can be so easy to fall victim to the comparison trap and never get out.
This will only lead you down a spiral of self-doubt and ultimately, lose the spark that your passion and craft originally brought.
Instead, focus on what you can do today, in this one hour, this singular moment, to become better at what you love. When you do that hour after hour, day after day, you will suddenly look up and realize how far you have come.
It might even be possible that someone is now looking at your day 10,000 with inspiration.
2. Be willing to wait for success.
Have you ever wondered why so many lottery winners end up going bankrupt? One likely reason is, they have no emotional connection to what went into attaining that wealth. There was no backstory around what went into gain the money.
Instant gratification has become an epidemic, with the convenience of modern society, we all want things now, and often, we want them for free.
The truth is, there is immense power in delayed gratification. When you put in the work and follow the highs and lows of the journey, the moment you reach your goal, mastery will feel so much sweeter in the end.
If someone handed you an Emmy for being a movie extra or passed off an Olympic gold medal for walking a 5K, would it mean anything deeply to you?
So be patient and enjoy the process to success in mastering your craft.
3. Reconnect with your purpose.
So often we wake up, go to work, socialize and do a hobby without really stopping to think — why?
There is a reason you do what you do every day, and that is your guiding purpose. Make a commitment to remind yourself of what that is.
In creative writing, my ultimate purpose is to share stories that free people from the pain they feel and open the opportunity for self-acceptance. I tell myself this every time I sit down to write.
Each morning when you plan the day, check in with why you choose each task. If it helps, create a mantra to repeat out loud first thing in the morning to set you on the path to success.
My personal mantra is from the book The Big Leap:
“I expand with abundance, success and love, ever day. And I inspire those around me to do the same.”
Try this one out or find one that fits your purpose to receipt
4. Create time to enter a state of flow.
The best way to stay positive when working on mastering a craft is this right here- enter a flow state.
When you are in flow state, everything melts away, time ceases to exist and you become one with what you are doing. Have you ever started practicing your craft to look up and think it had been ten minutes only to realize hours passed by? You were in flow, or “the zone”, as athletes often refer to it.
Not only does your skill set thrive when in this state of mind but, the more you can enter into a state of flow, the happier you will become. Science has done substantial studies to show that this altered mindset releases chemicals from your brain that actually make you happier.
Set time aside in a space with limited interruptions and allow your craft to fill you up and flow through you. Sometimes you need a little time away from the world to be one with what you love. I guarantee you will emerge with newfound appreciation and enthusiasm.
Staying the course when striving for greatness can be difficult from time to time. Commit to these four things every day, and take notice of how you feel, and how much your skills improve.
And always remember, choose to enjoy the path to greatness!
This article first appeared in The Startup.