5 Ways to Develop Skilled Craftsmanship
You don’t need a factory or fancy equipment to develop expert-level skills. It is possible to practice and hone your skilled craftsmanship in any setting, no matter how limited the resources are. Whether you’re a carpenter, cobbler, tailor, weaver, or something else entirely, developing great skills doesn’t happen overnight. There are deliberate steps anyone can take to build greater proficiency in almost any trade or craft. The word “craftsmanship” comes from the old English phrase “craft of the trade.” It refers to a high level of skill and dedication in one’s work. While this used to be a much more common thing back when nearly everyone had some sort of trade that they practiced daily, it has become a much rarer quality today among people who have jobs instead of professions. However, there is still value in reconnecting with our roots and rediscovering what it means to be an artisan – especially if you want to be successful as an entrepreneur in almost any field today.
Focus on the fundamentals
In almost any field, certain skills are essential to proficiency. In carpentry, for example, some certain measurements and calculations are used over and over again. In baking, there are standard ratios for the ingredients in each type of baked good. In any craft, there are foundational principles that must be mastered to even get started. To develop your skills, you have to make time to focus on the fundamentals. If you’re a carpenter, take the time to learn the different types of joints. If you’re a baker, understand the chemistry of how ingredients interact. If you’re a designer, take the time to understand the basics of color theory. If you neglect the fundamentals, you’re just spinning your wheels. You’ll never get to the higher-level skills if you don’t make sure you have a solid foundation first.
Practice as much as you can
This is one of the age-old clichés about skill development: if you want to become great at something, you have to practice it. This is true for two reasons. One, you need to put in the hours to build up your skill level. Two, you need to put in the hours to build up your patience and perseverance. In any craft, you’ll make a lot of mistakes at first. You’ll make wrong measurements, put the wrong ingredients in your recipe, and come up with designs that don’t work. This is a normal part of the process, but it can be discouraging. To keep going and to stay motivated, you have to remind yourself that you’ve got to put in the hours to get good at what you’re doing. You have to push through the frustration and keep going. You have to stay consistent.
Find a mentor or teacher
As an alternative to finding a craft and trying to figure it out on your own, countless people have already acquired expert-level skills in their craft and would be happy to help you get to that level. You can find mentors or teachers in almost any field. If you’re interested in carpentry, you can find a master carpenter and ask if you can work for them for a few years. If you’re interested in baking, you can apprentice with a master baker. If you can’t find someone locally who does what you’re interested in, you can reach out to experts all over the world through social media, email, or other communication. There are often groups, associations, and other organizations that bring experts together with people who want to learn from them.
Don’t be afraid to fail
You’ll fail at some things, and that’s completely normal. You have to expect to fail at some things. You have to expect to make mistakes as you’re developing your skill set. Don’t let this discourage you. You should welcome these mistakes and view them as opportunities to learn. If you’re making baked goods and they don’t turn out the way they’re supposed to, consider the reasons why and learn from it. If you’re designing something and it doesn’t look how you want it to, consider the reasons why and learn from it. Don’t let your mistakes discourage you from continuing. Instead, let them propel you towards greater skill by refueling your determination.
Commit to lifelong learning
No matter how skillful you become, there is always more to learn. As a carpenter, you’ll never stop learning new techniques. As a baker, you’ll never stop learning new recipes and methods for creating delicious baked goods. As a designer, you’ll never stop learning new ways to apply color theory. Don’t ever think you’ve “arrived” as a skilled person. Always be on the lookout for new information that can improve your work. Always be on the lookout for new tools that can improve your work. Don’t just learn the basics of your craft and then stop there. Instead, continue learning and growing your skill set so you can do even greater work in the future.
Skill development is a long, arduous process, but it is also one that anyone can undertake. No matter your situation or background, you can develop greater skills in almost any craft or trade. All it takes is a bit of dedication and consistency. You don’t need special resources or fancy equipment. You don’t even need a lot of money. If you want to do something, if you want to become great at a craft, it’s up to you to make it happen. You just have to be willing to put in the time and effort to make it happen. With consistent effort, you can develop greater skilled craftsmanship in almost any field.