On Doing Things Like a Pro

23 January, 2022

I don’t know about you, but for years I’ve been seeing a stream of articles and blog posts that claim to teach you how to do something like a pro. Thinks like tweeting, folding laundry, eating pizza, planning a trip. The list is endless. And most of the items on that list are common, mundane tasks. Things that I didn’t realize had professional practitioners ...

I shake my head when see articles or posts like that. The notion that you need to, or even should, learn to do something like a pro is rooted in a pair of very flawed assumptions.

The first of those assumptions is that you’re willing and able to put in time. The time to learn how to do something at professional level. Or, at least, the level that some bloggers and writers are advocating.

The second assumption is that you actually need to reach that level, to be able to do something with an incredible level of precision and efficiency. But do you really need to learn to do something like a pro?

I don’t think so.

A lot of us embrace the idea that a professional, or someone extraordinarily proficient, always does whatever they do efficiently. That’s not always the case. And you can be sure that no two adepts do something the same way. Everyone has their own variation. Everyone has their own take on how to do something. That variation, that take suits them. It might not suit you or anyone else.

To be honest, I’m not sure you can teach someone how to things like a pro. You can learn shortcuts and techniques but that doesn’t mean you’re a top performer or doer. At anything.

Like a number of so called productivity hacks and life hacks, the whole notion of learning to do something like a pro is wrapped up in the cleverness of a solution. A solution, often, to a problem that really isn’t a problem.

Don’t stress about not being able to do something like a pro. Chances are, you don’t need to. The way you’re doing something is probably fine.

Scott Nesbitt