Whatever you’re doing, there’s a potentially better way to do it.
For e.g, there’s a ‘best way’ to hold a camera, professionally. How? by placing your left hand under the lens.
Best times to avoid human traffic while commuting? Don’t go during rush hours. Best way to improve your writing? Keep writing, re-writing, reading, mastering the language.
The problem is: Most of us overlook the possibilities. We’re too lazy to find out, let alone act upon it.
Once we consider our results as acceptable, we tend to settle with it and seldom overexert. ‘Ok’ happens to be most people’s standard, not: keep making it better. Humans are lazy by nature.
We’d rather call it a day, take a break, and chase gratification (play games, watch TV, go out drinking). After all, we did do the work – we just didn’t give it our best shot.
There are multiple ways to improve your craft – question is, how hungry are you to find out?
The Longer Road
They say that it takes a pro-photographer at least 10,000 photos before he reaches his level of pro-status.
Why? Because he eventually finds out what the rookie mistakes are and eliminates them from his workflow. You learn by committing, and you learn a shitload more, every time you put more time in.
This is how it works on the longer road. Long hours, long-term commitment.
This is how we unlock/nurture our inner genius and gift.
When I first learned to use Adobe Effects (A video editing/visual effects software), I studied and memorized all the hotkeys, workflow tips. Anything deemed practical, I committed myself to master that first.
Understanding the entire capacity of the software was a steep learning curve – which consumed months from me (from basics to advanced operations – 2D, + 3D graphic design). but there were no shortcuts.
If you’re a fan of working faster while producing higher quality work in less time, you have to first master the process.
Another surefire approach is to be constantly curious. Learn from anyone better than you. Whoever you choose to learn from doesn’t have to be ‘pro’ level or from the same industry. There’s bound to be something they know that you don’t.
It doesn’t hurt to ask, and it never hurts to listen. Repeat this process like your life depends on it.
At the end of the day, I’d boil everything down to being patient and willing to learn.
There is no finish line.