How “Being” is Better Than “Being Better”
We each have a craft. Maybe it’s art, writing, parenting, teaching, music, or business. We each have something we do and want to improve.
My crafts are husbandry, parenting, and writing. My life revolves around these three crafts.
I want to be a better husband, father, and writer, but focusing on being better is not the same as being better.
Let me break it down for you.
Being vs Being Better
You become a better writer by writing.
You become a better creative by creating.
You become a better parent by parenting.
No number of self-help books, online courses, YouTube videos, or workshops will help you to attain the perfection you are looking for.
Because focusing on being better turns oneself inward, away from the craft. Whereas, simply being turns us toward the craft.
It’s the craft that deserves our time, energy and attention. Not us. By being we become, by being better we agonize.
Whether you want to be a better artist, writer, parent, teacher, entrepreneur, or musician, you need to immerse yourself into the craft. Be fully present to it. Love it. Embrace it.
The sculpture shapes the sculptor, not the other way around.
Action Yields Perfection, Perfection Doesn’t Necessarily Yield Better Action
You’ve heard the mantra Practice makes perfect. You’ve also heard Perfect practice makes perfect.
Both are wrong.
I don’t read parenting blogs, I don’t listen to parenting advice. Why? Because besides basic survival skills, there is nothing anyone can teach me about my son. He, like all of my crafts, is unique to me.
The unique relationship between you and your craft is left for you, and you alone, to explore. People can teach you techniques, tricks, and tips to be a better craftsman, but that only serves half of the relationship–you.
Engage the relationship between you and your craft, this is what yields perfection. By putting in the work you will steer clear of the self-improvement tendencies and instead sacrifice yourself for the craft.
Show up. Focus on the craft. Action begets perfection.
Sculpting the figure. Writing the novel. Coding the program. Honing the craft. The best-of-the-best make what they do look seamless.
In any new relationship (mutual, romantic, etc.) there is an awkward “discovery” phase. The same applies to the craftsman-craft relationship. The discovery phase is messy and full of mishaps.
It takes time before the relationship feels natural.
Everything that I said before can be taken with a grain of salt in this stage. At the beginning phase of discovering your craft, you will need to focus more on you. That’s okay. But understand eventually the discovery time will end and action will need to follow.
When I started taking writing seriously, I signed up for an online college writing course. I learned (or relearned) all the things I ignored during my high school English classes.
During the course, my main focus was being a better writer. Did I learn gooder grammar? Absolutely. But once the class ended and I could focus on just writing, I improved.
Writing became seamless.
Strive for seamlessness, not perfection.
To summarize in simple terms: if you want to grow your craft, whether it’s as intensive as swimming or simple as sketching, you must focus on being a craftsman not being a better craftsman. Keep Stepping Forward, you’ll get there.