I may be wrong, but I think I have a general idea of what kind of person you are.
If you’re anything like me, you are always on the lookout for ways to improve yourself. You have heard of at least one or two productivity methods. You have a favorite to-do app. You take notes, and try to make time for reading. You value learning and are a serious tinkerer, often spending more time optimizing a thing than actually using it.
Likely, you think every minute not spent working on yourself, or your tools, or your craft, is a minute wasted. Yet there are people you look up to with curiosity: people who seem to have achieved what you wanted to, but effortlessly.
Over time, I think I am figuring out how they do it. It’s because they understand the value of fun.
The conventional knowledge is that the “grind” mindset will get you there, while the “fun” mindset will keep you stuck here. But the two are actually reversed. I’ve never met someone really good at their craft who wasn’t also having fun doing it.
Back in university I was close to one of the professors there. He was outclassing nearly everyone else there in recognition, citations, and output. Yet he always made time for students, he involved them in the process, and had a completely “open” office. At a first glance, it looked to me as if he was just wasting time socializing, and tagged him as a slacker. But he was just having fun doing what he loved most: playing with ideas and turning them into papers. Others were just grinding with their doors closed.
I apologize if this comes as a bucket of cold water, but It’s unlikely you’ll ever become great at something you have to “grind” for. Because you just can’t compete against someone who is having fun doing it.
People who have fun doing their craft do it by day, and by night. They overcome obstacles that would stop us on our tracks, and endure criticism that would shatter our ego. They explore the craft’s unexplored depths, as they are driven purely by their own curiosity. They go on with or without support from people, and derive joy merely from the fact that they are doing their craft.
And much like you can’t compete against someone who has fun doing it, others can’t compete with you if you have fun doing it.
So it sounds obvious, but if you hate what you are doing, or are stuck in a “grind,” it might be a good time to rethink things over. What do you have fun doing? What can you do from morning to evening without taking a break? If I were you, I would bet double on that.