The Simple Truth of Mastering a Skill

Mastering a skill takes years, whether it is teaching, becoming a great leader, a skilled parent or world-class speaker. Like the Bamboo Farmer that I reference in my speeches and my first book Water The Bamboo the key to mastery lies in one’s ability to be focused and disciplined for years. It takes up to five years for giant timber bamboo to grow 90 feet in 60 days. Bamboo Farmers must be patient with themselves and the process of growth. Initially, results can’t be seen so it requires one to have faith that growth will happen. It takes a lot of nights to become an overnight success. 

The process to mastery is simple, but it is not easy because the mind can play tricks on you. One of the mind’s favorite tricks is to convince you to give up because you cannot see any results from your efforts. Another trick of the mind is to spend lots of energy looking for short cuts or some kind of a quick fix to get to the top. You will have to battle others on your road to mastery too because people around you will say things like “why are you wasting your time?” Just tell them to mind their own bamboo! 

Let me be very clear: the path to success and mastery is often boring, repetitive, and anything but glamorous. Adopting the mindset of the Bamboo Farmer will help you on your road to mastery. The Bamboo Farmer mindset is a more realistic mindset to adopt as you pursue your long-term goals to master a craft. 

Here are 7 Key things to remember on your Road to Mastery: 

  1. To get to mastery one must walk the road of boredom.

  2. Trust the process - you must be willing to put in the work.

  3. Remember there are no short cuts on the path to mastery.

  4. Adopt a mantra that inspires you – Water The Bamboo works!

  5. Be aware that there could be a plateau in your efforts. It’s normal, keep watering.

  6. Get a watering partner that will be supportive and will help you stay accountable to your efforts.

  7. Reframe from tracking your results but measure your effort instead (time on task is critical).