A professional can keep working at a high level no matter what is going on around him or inside him.
What is a professional, anyway? A professional is someone who can keep working at a high level of effort and ethics, no matter what is going on—for good or ill—around him or inside him. A professional shows up every day. A professional plays hurt. A professional takes neither success nor failure personally. In the end, for me, it comes down to the work itself. A pro gets younger and more innocent as he or she ascends through the levels. It’s a paradox. We get salty and cynical, but we creep closer, too, to the wonder. You have to or you can’t keep going. Any other motivation will burn you out. You develop a practice, and the practice gets simpler and less self-oriented over time. We rise through the levels of professionalism by a process of surrender. We surrender to our gift, whatever that may be.
Treat your work as a refuge—an oasis of control and creative satisfaction in the midst of the bad stuff. Don’t beat yourself up if you’re not on fire creatively every day—give yourself credit if you show up for work and make even a small amount of progress. When you put down your tools for the day, you may even see your personal situation with a fresh eye.
Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind (The 99U Book Series)
“We all are learning, modifying, or destroying ideas all the time. Rapid destruction of your ideas when the time is right is one of the most valuable qualities you can acquire. You must force yourself to consider arguments on the other side.
— Charles T. Munger”
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