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If You Grab a Cat by its Tail…

I saw this on the BBC website and thought you should see it too!

Amazing, our high-tech world, which is graduating a generation with higher qualifications than ever before, is delivering to us surgeons with greater skills in typing, swiping left and blowing stuff up with their thumbs than skill holding a scalpel, making an incision or stitching up a wound. Ok, maybe it’s not quite that extreme yet, but the trend is certainly established. The fear is that it could pick up speed.

I mean, I ask you, do you want a surgeon, regardless of their academic knowledge, removing your appendix, who lacks confidence in handling a scalpel let alone the needle and thread. How about a heart transplant, or god forbid, cosmetic surgery?

Do you want a mechanic fixing your car, even if they have an engineer’s level of knowledge about how it works, if he is awkward installing a nut and bolt?

It is a frightening pattern in our world that physical, interactive, tactile and creative experience is being replaced with a passive, purely cerebral world of websites and videos.

Now don’t get me wrong, to truly succeed you need an absolute masterful knowledge of your profession, but if your profession is manifested through physical delivery, you will never master it through a computer screen.

Mark Twain said it best in his famous quote, “If you grab a cat by its tail, you’ll learn things that you couldn’t learn any other way.” Put in other words;

· If you want to learn the skills of a surgeon, practice the skills of a surgeon,

· If you want to learn the skills of a plumber, practice using a pipe wrench,

· If you want to learn how to hit a baseball, hit baseballs,

· If you want to learn to play the piano, play the piano,

· If you want to learn to play the guitar, play the guitar,

· If you want to learn how to dance, dance,

· If you want to learn the skills of a carpenter, make things,

· If you want to learn how to deliver inspirational speeches, give speeches,

· If you want to learn the skills of photography, take photographs,

Does this makes to you?

· You learn to drive a manual transmission by driving a manual transmission,

· You learn to hang wallpaper by hanging wallpaper,

· You learn to paint pictures by painting pictures,

· You learn to ski by skiing,

Even in the beginning, you learned to walk by walking, even if it was one baby step at a time.

Nobody was ever good at anything the first time they tried. Sure, they may have had some talent and, if lucky, some passion, but their skill came from, as Will Smith puts it, “beating on their craft!”


If you need additional skills, they will become apparent and you’ll learn those the same way along the journey as you become a master of your profession.

Repetition is truly the mother of skill. So, if your job, your hobby or your pastime requires a physical skill, or skills, engage in performing those skills over and over and over again. You’ll master them sooner than you think, often before you notice and you’ll be happier along the way.

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