Mastery Begins With Imitation

Wise looking guru

The road to master will always begin with imitation.  Think of the artist who began drawing their favorite characters or comics as children.  You begin by learning to draw what others have done.  When you are learning to play an instrument, you learn chords and keys, but do you start by playing your own music or someone else’s?  That’s right, you play music created by other people.

Think of a great martial artist, such as Carlos or Helio Gracie.  They did not create Brazilian Jiu Jitsu with no training.  They learned from a Japanese Jiu Jitsu teacher, Mitsuyo Maeda, and perfected what he taught them.  THEN they created BJJ as we know it today.  They began with imitation.  So should you.

How you should start down your path, whatever it may be

There are so many ways to learn that it is more difficult to pick a few then list a hundred.  But, I will give it a shot:

  1. Read books. Depending on your generation, you may call these e-books or just books.  There is no way in existence to get more leverage in a short amount of time then by reading a book.  It may only take you a few hours to read the book but, I guarantee you, the author spent HUNDREDS of hours researching, writing, and rewriting that book.  It could contain the sum of that author’s knowledge or, more likely, a knowledge from many great thinkers, all of whom spent their entire life building up that knowledge.  The next time you read a book, think about that.
  2. Find a teacher or mentor. There are plenty of people who have spent their lives gaining the knowledge that you seek.  Take advantage of that.  What are the benefits of a teacher over a book?
    1. They can answer your questions
    2. They can provide knowledge in spoken form, not just through text
    3. If you don’t understand something the first time, they can explain it another way
    4. They can provide you feedback on what you are learning
  3. Google it. Again, depending on your generation, this will probably be the first thing that you do anyway, even without being prompted.  There is a great deal of information online but it can be difficult to sift out (even now) what is real and what is garbage.  I recommend you don’t start with this, which is why it is number 3 on the list.
  4. Follow related blogs. Clearly, I am partial to blogs.  But the reason for that is that you can combine the first three items into one.  Bloggers can provide answers to questions, research information, and provide you with feedback.  Always find addition references, however.
  5. YouTube. Oh, how I wish this was around when I was in college.  There is so much information to be found here.  Not only is there a great deal of information, but you get to both listen and watch it.  In some cases, you can read along as well.
  6. E-learning sites like Depending on what it is you are trying to learn, there are sites dedicated to teaching you how to do it.  Whether it is drawing, painting, music, writing, or IT, there is a site for you.
  7. Take a class. This could be traditional or and online class.  The traditional class is going to combine the teacher with the reading, and potentially several others.  The online class will be very much like an e-learning site, but probably much more expensive.

For me, I believe that your best source of information is #6.  The reason for that is that there is just SO much information compressed into these sites and you can typically take as many as you want for a monthly fee.  The sheer volume of learning you get from these sites are staggering!

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