Master Everything

Yesterday, I kind of screwed up with my work. It wasn’t a major mistake, probably an easy one to make, but I still screwed up. No one was angry with me, no one chewed me out, nothing like that. They just let me know a correction needed to be made, they’d made it, and if there was an issue with how they did it to let them know.

In fact, the only person who was upset was me.

You see, I don’t do well with mistakes. At least, I don’t do well with my mistakes. I tend to try to be understanding of others and their mistakes, but I somehow don’t do well with my own.

Why is that? 

Because I believe in trying to master everything.

Realistically, you can’t master everything. You can’t even master everything you devote time to doing. I know that.

But on the same token, what’s the point in pursuing anything if you’re not going to try to master it? 

Don’t get me wrong, I get the idea of doing something just for the pleasure of it. I can see someone enjoying a game of basketball even though they suck at it. I know, I played basketball in high school and way well have been the worst varsity basketball player in the state my senior year, but I enjoyed it.

That doesn’t mean you can’t work to get better, though, now does it? If you suck at golf, but you enjoy it, wouldn’t you enjoy it better if you learned how to play it better? Wouldn’t you enjoy it more if you learned how to drive the ball more than a few dozen feet?

At the end of the day, you’re never going to be what most would consider a master at everything you do. Yet that doesn’t matter. It’s not achieving mastery that matters.

It’s the constant improvement.

It’s like weight training. You’re never going to be as strong as Brian Shaw (probably), but does that mean you shouldn’t try? Does that mean you shouldn’t put forth some effort to becoming a much stronger version of yourself?

Of course not.

But why don’t we take that and put it into practice in our daily lives? 

How many of you, realistically, ask yourself what you can do better at your job? What about at home? 

Probably not that many of us. 

It’s probably an artifact similar to the Dunning-Kruger effect, a phenomenon where people who know little think they know a great deal, but as they learn more, they come to recognize how little they actually know, slowing working their way up to true mastery.

Most of us get sufficient knowledge to function in our lives and think we know enough. We think we have enough information to continue.

Truth be told, we do. We have enough to function. We have enough to continue.

What we don’t have is mastery.

You drive a car, right? Most of us do.

Yet, are you a master behind the wheel, or merely competent in normal circumstances?

I promise you that unless you race NASCAR or are a stunt driver, you’re not even close to a master behind the wheel. In fact, a whole lot of drivers aren’t even all that good. They don’t know how to deal with hydroplaning, or black ice, or even accident avoidance techniques. Hell, most don’t even know how to use a turn signal.

So why not learn to drive better? Why don’t people who spend so much of their lives behind the wheel ever try to come even close to mastery of their skills?

Why don’t any of us try?

Author: Tom

Tom is a husband, father, novelist, opinion writer, and former Navy Corpsman currently living in Georgia. He's also someone who has lost almost 60 pounds in a safe, sustainable way, so he knows what he's talking about.

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