Success is neither magical nor mysterious.
Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying
the basic fundamentals.
Mastering the basics is crucial to your success. Whether we are talking about playing chess, playing golf, or investing in real estate, a good foundation is critical to accomplishing your goals. While getting lost in the details can often be easy, master the basics first and you stand a much better chance of winning in the long-run.
Of course, the real experts in any field can do some incredible things that the beginner cannot. But the real difference between a pro and a novice is that the expert is much better, efficient and effective at the basic tasks that are fundamental to their skill-set. Let us look at three simple ideas about how to master the basics in your field of choice.
By mastering the basics first you:
1. Expect to acquire mastery. You will rarely exceed your own objectives, so expect a lot from yourself. If , for instance, you are planning on taking up golf, tell yourself that you will some day stand among the greatest golfers. While this may or may not be true, by adopting this approach, you remove any self-imposed psychological ceiling on your ultimate level of achievement. You prepare you mind and spirit to do what is required to achieve your goal, and do it well. After all, what is the point of doing something if you do not plan to do it well?
A second approach is to imagine that you will eventually teach this skill to someone else. You will need to know what you are doing and talking about so thoroughly that you can explain it to anyone, simply. There is an Einstein quote that addresses this:
“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough”
2. Are focused on the long-term. Many people want to rush through the basics to get to the more interesting and complex information. Or perhaps they believe that the more advanced work is where real power lies. But even with just a mastery of the basics, you can achieve huge successes. And to excel at the advanced work, you must first know where to begin.
For example, if you do not grasp the basics of chess, you are never going to have the foundation to support understanding the finer nuances of the game no matter how many great masters you study. If you do not understand and master algebra, how will you ever be able to master calculus?
Professional golfers spend a huge chunk of their off-season doing nothing but perfecting the basics. They have a coach who works with them on their golf swing. How many times have they already swung a club in their lives? But keep in mind that the instructors going through these drill with the professional golfer cannot play golf as well as the professional they are teaching! He just knows every finesse of how the swing works, which is the foundation of all of the advanced skills.
3. Avoid “gilding the lily.” Always question your assumption that the solution to your current challenge has to be really complicated. Ask yourself if the problem is really the result of a shortcoming in one or more basic skills. Rarely is some fancy technique or shiny new toy going to be the answer.
If you cannot boil an egg well, a space-age pot really will not help you become a better chef. If you do not know how to strike a golf ball well, a $2,000 set of new golf clubs certainly is not going to do much to improve your golf game.
Thoroughly mastering the basics will take time, but it is beyond a doubt, time that will be well spent. There are no shortcuts to real success. Adding a new skill to your repertoire is much easier if you have the expectation of first getting a good handle on the foundational skills. Time devoted to the basics is the key to long-lasting progress and success.
To your continued success…