Masterclass

Before I went on the writing retreat recently, I had an overwhelming desire to create something with my hands. I wanted my hands and mind to be busy.

I chose knitting, not because I am particularly good or skilful at it, but because I enjoy it. I like the rhythm of knitting and the almost meditative state it brings.

I placed my knitting strategically so you can't see my mistakes!

I placed my knitting strategically so you can’t see my mistakes! Personal photo.

But, I have to admit that my ability and ambition are out of sync, and sometimes this is difficult to reconcile. Last Christmas, I discovered Best In Show – Knit Your Own Dog and was already envisaging a masterpiece – a quirky diorama of canines – before I had even taken the contents out of the box.

Before I had taken the contents out of the box to knit the first dog, I had already envisaged a diorama such as this in my mind

Before I had taken the contents out of the box to knit the first dog, I had already envisaged a diorama such as this in my mind.

Photo courtesy mom.me

My mother-in-law, who has mastered the intricacies of Fair Isle knitting, quickly completed two of the paws but then stalled on the next step in the dachshund’s construction, and has passed it on to another friend (a fellow knitwit) with substantial “yarning” skills to find the solution.

The finished product - the knitted dachshund!

The finished product – the knitted dachshund!

Photo courtesy http://www.bestinshowbooks.com

Suffice to say, the creation of my diorama of dogs will be a long term project.

Aristotle got it right when he said "What we have to learn, we learn by doing"

Aristotle got it right when he said “What we have to learn, we learn by doing”.

Photo courtesy learningandcreativity.com

I used to lament that I was not “naturally” good at anything but I now realise that it was because I gave up too easily. And, it’s not a race, you have your whole lifetime to master particular skills.

Albert Einstein gives us some insight into mastery!

Albert Einstein gives us some insight into mastery!

Photo courtesy http://www.azquotes.com

Aristotle and Einstein have given us some pretty great theories, but If you are like me and need some practical “to do” steps, here they are:

  • Start by reading or listening to others who know how to do the skill you wish to acquire
  • Start doing it yourself, then do it some more
  • Develop an understanding of the skill you are trying to acquire, acknowledging that developing proficiency is a journey
  • If you aren’t afraid to make mistakes and learn from them, you will go from good to great!

When the world says, “Give up,” Hope whispers, “Try it one more time.” I don’t know who said this but I am sure that they had mastered a number of skills.

 

2 Comments on Masterclass

  1. Allan Gardiner
    June 18, 2015 at 9:20 am (2 years ago)

    Those knitted dogs are so clever. Good luck. Do not forget that you have already mastered thinking and writing to a level that reflects enormous effort.

    Reply

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