The Apprenticeship

Change is the only constant in life. You are born a baby and then you grow into an adult. Even though your body doesn’t grow taller but you keep on growing emotionally, and intellectually.

Experience polishes and carves you into who you are today. Your environment, the people that control, guide, and accompany you on your daily journey as well as the circumstances of nature and society all hammer you into the mold where you eventually find yourself.

Then one day, sooner or later, you wake up to be in full command of yourself and every decision is yours to make, That is exactly the moment when you have to decide to proceed with intention in every experiment and experience on your path. Things are different now, and you’re no longer the feather in the wind you once were. Your arm rests firmly on the rudder and you’re steering and adapting your sails to the wind and following a predetermined course.

Wherever your destination lies initially, it does not matter. You will sail to different ports, see distant cities, and meet people from near and far who will invite you with their stories or hospitality to visit more ports and explore more cities. What you’re doing in each place is an exploration of its potential and amassing the experience in your bag of memories. But what you are really doing and which is the theme of your entire journey is that you are a sailor and an explorer. This is your apprenticeship and your path toward mastery.

Whatever you’re doing right now you are training yourself in one thing or the other and you ought to choose carefully. Are you wasting your life or, perhaps, you are leading your life with intention?

A path of purpose and intention doesn’t have to be a grand plan where you know exactly where you are going to be and plan your world tour and years of traveling ahead of time. Your plan will be to experiment with a destination, then if all goes well, you will figure out your next one when you’re there. We can only plan ahead as far as our eyes and thoughts can see. Some see further than others, but we all have our limits, and it’s OK to proceed in your life with what you can see in the here and now until with experience your sight and insight can take your planning further.

What you need to know at the beginning is that your life’s apprenticeship in your chosen path or vocation will be slow at first. And much like everything in life that involves learning it will compound over time. If you set out to be a Guitar player, you will start by moving your clumsy clueless fingers haphazardly over the strings making basically noise. But you feel entranced by the magic harmonies those who have mastered the instrument are capable of producing and it drives you to practice more and get incrementally better with each strum of your pick.

This is all there is to getting better at doing anything in life. You choose a way, you set out on the experiment, and you strum away at the strings getting better at manipulating the guitar with both hands. One day it starts to sound like music, but it is just that music that is mostly an application of all those lessons and an imitation of others who have played great pieces of music. You are in effect, just a musician. To take it a step further, you keep practicing, you keep getting better and you start to listen to your muse and you get creative with composing music. This is when you are an original, and at that, you may be inching further toward being called a master.

To each of us who have set out on a road of any creative output, we know the path is long and that we will stumble for a very very long time before we are going to be considered good at it, nothing to be said of mastery still. But the only recipe for getting there is to keep practicing, to keep at it. If you’re a writer, write more, write often, keep at it, show your work, and share it. The same with music, poetry, acting, painting, sculpting, photography, etc. Even things that do not at first look like creative endeavors like being an engineer who is fascinated by the application of theory, the enhancement of a device, or the invention of a tool. Even accountants can be creative with their work, in effect, we all can be applying creativity to whatever line of work we’re doing.

It might be quite boring at the beginning because, for a very long time, you feel as if you’re not getting any better in any way whatsoever, but in fact, you are. Even when things do not seem to be improving at all, they are. This is the magic of compounding and time. And this is why people tell you to follow your passion. Passion, interest, and excitement, will carry and drive you throughout all of that time when things just do not seem like going anywhere or getting any better.

The things that you are bound to master are those that you are doing persistently, constantly, and for a long time. If you’ve been doing it long enough and with enough passion, interest, and love, you will reach heights of excellence no one can even imagine.

Whatever your thing is, if you love it, give it your time and attention, and one of those days, you will wake up a master.

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