My wife and I watched a movie recently called Jiro Dreams of Sushi. It was about a 94 year old sushi master named Jiro. He is the owner of Sukiyabashi Jiro, a restaurant in a Tokyo subway station that has earned three Micheline stars. There were a number of things that were absolutely fascinating about this story but I was struck by the work ethic and the dedication to his craft. Jiro has been making sushi since he was 7. That’s 87 years! When an aspiring chef comes to work at the restaurant they start at the bottom and need to master the simple things before they can move on to the next task. They start by preparing the fish and cooking rice. They might spend years perfecting these skills before they are allowed to move on to making the eggs, where again, they will spend years working on that one skill.
The other thing that struck me about Jiro was his consistency. He does the same thing every day. He gets up at the same time. Takes the same route to work. Runs his business with precision and repeats the process day in and day out. By being consistent he can make incremental improvements that have a compounding effect on his craft and thus his business.
Imagine if you dedicated your life to perfecting your craft. If you stopped worrying about finding a “hack”. If you stopped worrying about immediate gratification. If you just focused on your craft and gave it your full attention and your only goal was to get a little better today than you were yesterday. How much better would you be in a year? In ten years? In 30?
This is something I know I struggle with all the time. I’m impatient. I want to go fast, achieve more, and be the best… NOW! But just like the story of the tortoise and the hare, the tortoise wins every time because he is consistent. He doesn’t get distracted and he makes slow but measurable progress.
So my challenge to you is this; figure out what your craft is and commit to mastery of that craft. Don’t worry about how fast you go, or the awards and recognition, and don’t compare yourself to others. Just go to work and be better than you were yesterday. If you commit to doing that, you will win. You will outlast and outperform anyone over the long haul if you stay the course.
“When consistency is disciplined, winning becomes incidental.” ~ Darren Hardy