Do you ever get the feeling of being a jack of all trades but the master of none? Or you feel like you’re always getting excited about a new project, activity or hobby only for it to fizzle out after the initial honeymoon period?
I’m sure you have and you’re not alone, I for one have experienced this. It’s certainly extremely frustrating and no matter how hard you try you just can’t seem to get that initial spark back. So just what needs to be done to master your hobby?
You can find many books out there related to how people become ‘masters’ or the debate over whether innate talent exists or if it’s learned.
Personally, I believe it’s all in the practice as opposed to talent. In some instances genetics or muscle memory from transferable skills can play a part but generally speaking if you think about something you’ve attempted and subsequently improved at, it is a result of practice.
There is the popular theory, referenced in excellent books such as Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell and Bounce by Matthew Syed, that states in order to master a skill you must put in 10,000 hours of practice. Syed gives the example of a man in Hungary, who trains his daughter from infant age at chess and she subsequently becomes a Grandmaster, the highest accolade that can be given. He repeats the experiment with his next two daughters, who going on to surpass all the achievements of the oldest daughter. He states the youngest daughter went onto be widely recognised as the greatest chess player of all time.
Although the examples given are not directly relating to hobbies, such as pottery where the mastery can be more subjective, the principles remain the same. As the old adage goes, “you get out what you put in”. To master your hobby you must put in the hours and to be best 10,000 hours are needed or 416.67 days, if you prefer.
Study. Learn. Make Mistakes.
As we’ve just discovered the mastery of a hobby requires dedication. There are no shortcuts and plus you’ll feel a greater sense of achievement once you do reach a level of mastery so get out there and study and learn your craft. You can find lots of great resources online to guide you, attend a class or even hire a tutor.
Naturally you will make mistakes but that’s ok ultimately you will learn a lot more from these and you’ll better off in the long run. Just stick at it.
Making time for your hobbies
Now practicing and learning your craft requires a great deal of time, arguably 10,000 hours worth, which could appear very daunting. You might be thinking how will find that much time in amongst all my other commitments, which is fair but let’s remember as frustrating as it may be it’s not going to happen overnight.
Over the next week or two, start keeping a note of everything you do everyday and how long for. By doing this you’ll be able to work out how you use your time and I’m sure there will be many patterns, we’re creatures of habit after all.
Armed with this clear picture of your time, you can start to work out how to best manage your time and sacrifice non-essential activities i.e. Could you potentially exercise during your lunch hour instead of after work? Or could you stop watching that trashy television you actually hate that takes up two hours of your day?
Suddenly, you might be left with say a magical five free hours in the week to pursue your hobby. Much better!
You must love your hobby
You’ve made time and you’re ready to learn and practice in order to master your hobby but suddenly you find yourself not on the dreamy road to self-fulfilment but back clinging onto the slowly dying flame of your new hobby. How did this happen?
Simply, you did not love your hobby enough. A harsh but unfortunate truth but it’s not through a lack of trying though. It just wasn’t enough for you to want to make time for it, learn about it or practice the craft. Don’t try and master a hobby for the sake of mastery. Perhaps the best way to sum up would be to hand you over to Simon Sinek and how you should “Start with Why!” Although, its makes reference to a commercial world it is still a valuable and relevant message to your pursuit of mastery a hobby.
Enjoy the journey!
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