Amateurs and Pros

2 02 2012

“A little learning is a dangerous thing;
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:
There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
And drinking largely sobers us again.”

(Alexander Pope, 1688-1744)

I came across a fascinating article early this morning in one of my favorite blogs, Lead.Learn.Live by David Kanigan. You can read it here.

The essence of this article talked about really learning a thing.  I’ve been chewing on it all day.

It doesn’t take a prodigious amount of effort to be a dilettante and a dabbler.  I get bored quickly so it is very easy for me to become an amateur in yet another discipline, another interest, another pursuit.

Mastery and expertise take lots of time.  There’s simply no other way around it.  You don’t become a pro at anything overnight.

Over the past thirty-five years, I’ve given myself to two principal pursuits: Music and the Bible (theology).  I’ve spent enormous amounts of discretionary time with both because I love them.  As well I’ve spent many years in vocations using both skills.

As a result, I have come to learn things that a dabbler might not think important.  When the song calls for a Minor 6th chord, I know how it sounds.  Simply playing the Minor chord satisfies many.  But I’m not satisfied.  I want to do my best to play it as the composer intended.

I listen to a lot of audio and I can tell when an author or a speaker has taken pains to be well-prepared when talking about biblical and theological things.  And I can tell when they’re in over their heads, however well-intentioned.  You just know because you’ve paid your dues.

So here’s the gauntlet:  Find out those things you love.  The things you are passionate about.  The things you’d do for free.  Learn them well, like the back of your hand.  You’ll be struck, after drinking deep, with a sense of your own ignorance.  That feeling of “I need to go deeper and learn more about this.”  Not a bad outcome at all.

You will grow and those you share with will as well.

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