Last week I watch a beautiful documentary about the craft of a 95 year old Japanese cook called Jiro dreams of sushi. There are so many lessons to learn from this documentary that I wanted to write them down for all of you.
Jiro owns a restaurant in Tokio that is considered but the experts the best sushi restaurant in the world. He have reached a level of perfection in his craft that can only achieve through extreme discipline driven by his love for the craft he practices. On the movie they explain that he already worked with food at the age of 9, now at 95 he had devoted an entire life to reach perfection (even though he thinks he is getting closer, he still believes he is far away from it).
This movie is very interesting because the philosophy can be applied to any other professional field. In his belief, you learn the "basic skills" to cook sushi after 10 years of devotion to the craft. This might sound a bit extreme but I totally agree with the statement, it takes a long time to understand in depth the work that you are committed to do. Some people might think that their job doesn't require 10 years to learn the basic skills, I would suggest to watch the documentary to realize how much you can improve in what you do every day.
The most important element is the passion that drives people to get better at what they do, a common thing among humans is to reach valley points in our learning process. As an example. just think on how many hours do you invest every day typing and are you getting better at it? In most cases you wont get better, this is because when you learn a skill you get to a position that makes you feel comfortable with how you perform and we stay there for good. Working on your craft daily, repealing the same tasks over and over is the way to achieve results in the long term.
The documentary, Jiro dreams of sushi, is named after Jiro tells the director that after all this time of dedication, some nights he dreams on different recipes that then he tries out and end up adding to the menu, he gets to expand his creativity having his subcouncious working in the night while at sleep, this is a fairly extreme way to improve at your work.
On this line, I would like to recommend a book that I found extremely useful. The author's name might be misleading because this is not a field he is know for but this is a gem for anyone that want to be a professional at anything. the book is "On writing" by Stephen King (and the audiobook link). In this book, he describes his creative process, and very few success people do ii as clear as he does. He is an extremely prolific writer an I always asked myself how these people get to produce so much quality work. He walks you through the process and is fascinating. If there is one lesson to take from the book is that you need to practice you craft daily, in his case, writing and reading .He invests a certain amount of time on reading every day and he also commits himself to write ten pages every day, some days it will take him a couple of hours, some other days it might take him into the night time, in any case, he does write his ten pages every day. I think the idea of setting up goals is of a mayor importance for our implication and focus. If you can, set up goals for every day, the personal fulfillment is also important here. Those of you that work on Agile environments will be familiar with this, having stories accepted and reaching the desired story points gives you a self confidence that you would not get otherwise.