The importance of developing your craft has the same significance like all things that have value. By this, I don’t just mean the handmade projects you make on your leisure time, but the skills that allow you to create something meaningful and useful.
It is the unique and special way we do things: the manner a painter applies his brush, the style a writer expresses her ideas or even the angle a potter molds her vase. Craft encompasses all these aspects. Harnessing one’s craft involves spending more time and effort into fine tuning these until one masters them. We can do this by increasing our know-how through books and workshops, joining communities that foster learning or even simply by practicing our craft more regularly.
As we hone our skills, we reap benefits that go beyond being able to do something we love. Developing your craft can be a potent source of both internal and external motivation.
Here are seven reasons why you should stay focused on developing your craft.
- It can unlock hidden potential. The more you work on your craft, the higher the chances that you can discover latent possibilities. For instance, in painting, if you continue to develop your craft you might discover a new way to paint. In addition, you might find out that using an unconventional medium can bring your creative ideas to life.
Take the painting below.Who knew you could make a painting with M&Ms, just like the painting below by Nikau Hindin
2. It can help increase your credibility in your field of interest. Like work experience, the more time and studying you have devoted into developing your craft, the more people would believe you and what you do. In the world of blogging, people tend to see those who have spent years in their niche as experts. Therefore, they trust what these bloggers say about issues, products and other matters.
3. It can provide an opportunity to help others. I personally experienced this when I joined Crochet Addict Philippines a few years back, a Facebook community whose main goal is to provide beanies for young children battling cancer. At that time, I wanted to be part of a group that was as enthusiastic about crochet as I was. Consequently, I learned more and participated more. I was happy that my step towards developing my craft gave me a chance to help someone in need.
4. It can be the key to a fulfilling career or profitable business. Some people have turned a satisfying hobby into something big. A great example is Lisa Price of Carol’s Daughter , a globally recognizable brand that has brought her $40 B in revenues as of 2011. She actually started her now lucrative business by coming up with high quality products made from their kitchen. Therefore, she turned her love of mixing fragrances for her skin and hair into a fortune.
5. It is good for your health and happiness. Recent research has shown that creative activities such as crafting work have effects on the mind and body similar to meditation. It’s noteworthy to mention that like yoga, it can lower stress and inflammation. When we do something pleasurable, dopamine, a natural antidepressant is released and makes us happy. Furthermore, it has been noted that crafting can reduce risk of having mild cognitive impairment by as much as 50%.
6. It can foster good social relationships. For many people, craft groups are a great way to learn new skills. Moreover, doing creative activities together can bring about social connection as shown in a study done by Betsan Corkhill et al in 2013 on knitters. In an online survey of 3,545 knitters worldwide, knitting in a group had improved their social contact and communication.
7. It can strengthen your values. Continuing to do what you love even with struggles can help you practice patience and perseverance. This is not limited to the actual project on hand, such as a painting, sculpture or crochet project, that take time to finish, but the ongoing process on developing of your craft.
The journey towards mastery of one’s craft requires a lot of time, effort and a strong resolve. As expressed by psychology writer Malcolm Gladwell in his book “Outliers”, it takes 10,000 hours of “deliberate practice” to become world-class in any field. That’s a lot of time and surely, while developing your craft you’d learn to be more patient.