This weekend I was watching an episode of Holmes on Homes, one of my favorite shows and one that I’ve blogged about a couple times before. I love watching Mike do what he does, but this past weekend I found myself wondering why his show is so interesting to me. The answer I came up with is not that home building or construction is that interesting or that he’s helping people out of sticky situationa. Rather, it’s because Mike is an expert and it’s entertaining to watch experts do what they do.
I realized that this is the explanation behind many of my interests. Duff Goldman is a cake-building expert. Steve Jobs is a technology and presenting expert. Click and Clack are car-repair experts. Pixar, Zappos, ILM. And it explains why Bob Ross and Norm Abrams are so interesting to watch, even for people who aren’t painters or woodworkers.
It’s also why this is so interesting to watch:
They all make it look easy.
People who are good at what they do every day are inspiring. I get inspired not to become a painter or homebuilder or computer animator, but to become a master at something. To study and practice and gain experience so that one day I can be the best in my line of work.
The thing to remember, though, is how long all of those folks had to work at their craft before anyone wanted to watch them do it. Steve Jobs spent millions of dollars funding Pixar for ten years before they produced their first feature-length computer animated film. How many cakes or houses did Duff or Mike have to build respectively before they became well-known for what they did? Most people give up long before they achieve mastery.
I’m sure the paths for each of these folks was difficult. I’m sure plenty of people told them that their commitment to their craft was silly. But they persevered and now they’re at the top of their game. And now they’re not just good at what they do, they’re inspiring people in other lines of work as well.
I think the lesson here is that it doesn’t matter what your line of work is. Pick something you’re passionate about and become the best at it no matter what people tell you, no matter how hard the road is. Don’t give up on your beliefs or your family, but set everything else aside that distracts your from your goal. Work hard and stick with it and eventually you can be at the top of your game, too.