Every once and while, I come across articles that just give me life. This means, that it is exactly what I need at a vulnerable time in my life. I am struggling with the stress of moving to a different state, finishing my college degree (class assignments, midterms, finals), and re-entering the job market with my newly found skills. I am in constant strife with my confidence. Yes, I am one of those persons who visit others’ sites and become enamored with the detail and beauty of their designs. I think to myself “will my skills ever progress to that level. Will I ever learn the techniques that will propel me into the stratosphere of technology greats?”
I realize I am lucky. I always have my husband who lets me know that I am much better than I think I am. I am special.
This is the article that I came across in a tweet from Web Designer Depot that helped put this in perspective for me:
Some people are just born with the talent. There aren’t many people like this in the world and amazingly the naturally gifted people are usually the ones who wastes their talents and are left wondering what could have been. The rest of us though need to put work in if we want to become an expert. The only thing standing between you as an amateur and you as an expert is dedication.
Best thing about becoming an expert though is that it is never too late. Well, that is assuming you don’t plan on dying tomorrow.
How many people (including myself) think that their time has passed to be an expert designer, artist, or photographer because they didn’t start when they were younger? How many people think they never stood a chance because they didn’t have the natural talent? According to the brainiacs that do studies on such things, almost anyone can develop top expertise abilities with which they aren’t physically impaired. The real secret behind top performers is that they have the gift of concentration, dedication and the desire to always improve.
Dedication And Drive
Look at Tiger Woods before he fell off. His sense of dedication and drive to be the best made him the top golfer in the world. Same with Jordan. Same with Kobe. As annoying as he can be, Kanye West is one of the best in the business because he has these same traits. He also likes to challenge himself with each album that he puts out. How many designers like to try something new and continuing to improve upon it until they are satisfied with it?
Lots of the experts in the world will tell you that they didn’t practice much, but that is usually because they don’t consider doing what they enjoy as practice. The kid spending hours outside playing soccer with his friends doesn’t see it as practice, but it is. The designer sketching what he sees out his window does so because he loves it.
It’s not just the fact that they practiced for long hours though. These people also develop a superior sense of control over what they are doing as time goes on. Unfortunately for us though most of us want to only practice the things that we are already good at and avoid the things that bore us. Unsurprisingly it is these things that we avoid that tend to keep us from being an expert.
Most designers that I encounter are amateurs who are satisfied with where they are. These are the folks that know there is a better way of doing things, but they are content with how they do things so they continue doing it that way. They made it past the suck threshold, but no longer want to improve. It’s frustrating to see. I can partly understand where they are coming from though because pushing yourself further means you will suck again at the new stuff and nobody wants to go back to sucking at something when they just got done sucking (okay, enough ‘sucking’).
How can you avoid the fear of boredom and being less than good? First you must remember that being better is better then remember that as you become better at whatever it will become more fun.
Go forth and challenge yourself.