Hone a Useful Craft

I have really been meditating on this post since I first read it just a week or so ago and there have been more than a handful of you who have also commented (or tweeted) or pinged me privately asking for more additional thoughts on how to best go about taking those words to heart.

I don’t have any super-useful pieces of advice, but, I have been thinking about what to do with what I’ve read in my own life and it’s been more clear to me that reconsidering how I use my time is… well… it’s about time to reconsider how I use it.

I didn’t say that very well, but, I’m too lazy to go back and edit that sentence, so, I’ll continue on – I’m sure you can follow.

I was reminded via that article of Steve Martin and his oft-repeated quote about being so good that it becomes impossible to be ignored. I love that so much. But the natural question that follows is what one should do and invest one’s time in that might be worthy to noticed.

I mean, there are an infinite amount of things that one could do to be noticed, but, not all of them are useful and many of them take advantage of others or come at the cost of someone else. Those aren’t helpful nor good.

I think the gem is this refinement:

The foundation to achievement and fulfillment, almost without exception, requires that you hone a useful craft and then apply it to things that people care about.

So, I suppose the question might be this: Are you (am I) working on / honing a useful craft and are we applying it towards people and what they care about?

Or, are we investing our time into things that do not necessarily create value for others (and subsequently, consequently, our own)?

I think, as I ponder these things, the question (and answer(s)) become much more complex and nuanced. There are a lot of things that we do that do not necessarily benefit anyone except for ourselves and we feel a ton of achievement, fulfillment, and joy from them.

There are fewer things, still, that we do for both ourselves and for others in equal measure. More often than not, if we are to critically analyze our motives (which is very difficult to do honestly) then we’d probably sit more on one side of the fence than perfectly in the middle.

And then there are things that, as a creative, that we just want to do because we need to create, for whatever reason. And the direct (or indirect) beneficiaries are just a consequence of our own desire to build, to create, and perhaps to even destroy.

For instance, something that I’ve been thinking about specifically around this topic is rebooting my feeble attempts at a vlog – I started one earlier this year and then quit because it became too much of a time commitment.

It hurt to quit because I don’t like quitting, especially something that I felt like I could do to completion (1 year of it). But, I want to give it another go.

Is this worth my time and effort? Maybe, maybe not. Is it useful craft? Is it something worth honing and investing considerable time and effort and maybe even financial capital? I’m not sure either.

Is it both “rare” and “valuable” as well? I’m not sure, at least perhaps not in equal measure. Rare, definitely as someone who’s vlogging daily is really, reallyreally rare and one of the most famous of daily vloggers, Casey Neistat, just recently quit his daily exercise to do something different for his creative needs.

But “valuable”? That’s up for debate. Yet, there’s something within me that just wants to give it another go, give it another try, and maybe that’s part of me that had quit and that doesn’t sit well with that fact.

I’m not even sure if I have something distinct and different to share, but, I do know that the future of online communication and digital consumption is video – I see it plainly, as the sky is blue and as coffee is black.

Perhaps that’s just enough motivation to just get things started, once again. And maybe, over time, it will become increasing more valuable as you start and then just don’t quit.

Just like writing.