Your main goal in a new field should not be immediate success or money, but to learn as much as possible.
Other more prestigious, well-paid positions will be available to you later, and the practical knowledge you gain from those early, badly-paid jobs will ultimately pay off for decades to come. Charles Darwin rejected both a place at medical school and a well-paid job in the church. He chose to take an unpaid position at a boxing center, using his time there to develop the skills necessary to his professional career.
The best way to learn a discipline or skill is to have a mentor who shows you the way.
When we try to learn something new on our own, we tend to make preventable mistakes, and spend much time seeking the correct way to do things. The result? Time and resources are squandered. What you need is a mentor: someone to guide you, helping you to use your time and resources more effectively.
But you’re not the only one who benefits from having a mentor. Usually, a mentor and apprentice develop a special relationship from which both can profit. Once you complete your apprenticeship, you must be bold enough to think innovatively and challenge the very rules you learned before.
It’s time to revive your innately fearless and open mind.
It’s precisely this freedom and audacity to break rules and subvert expectations which you should embrace once you finish your apprenticeship and go it alone. This is what will enable you to grow in your field – and achieve mastery – in your own unique way. You can learn to problem-solve in new and creative ways by broadening and training your mind.
First, we must unshackle and broaden our minds, because we have a natural tendency to think too narrowly. The second thing we must do to improve our creative thinking is to train our brains to quickly make new and uncommon connections.
This is best demonstrated in the human ability to solve a specific problem while apparently thinking about something completely different. Ever had a eureka moment while in the shower, or taking a walk? You’re in good company: Einstein, for example, played the violin while he pondered theoretical problems, claiming that this helped lead him to the solution.
Mastery: practice a skill until it’s automatic, so your mind and body act as one, freeing you to focus on the bigger picture. As a master, your mind and body will become one, enabling you to reach a new level of understanding and skill.