Nobel Prize winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman studies how we gather information and make decisions based on this information. He observes that we tend to harvest low hanging fruit…the information that is within easy reach. We then attach ourselves to this information and build our world around it, rarely questioning further. Craftsmen are no different. We often find a plateau with our knowledge and technique and remain there, comfortably stuck. But for those malcontents who find themselves in competition with themselves and the last work they did, life is more complicated. It is a struggle with an often virulent strain of what many call perfectionism. But a craftsman on-the-move doesn’t engage in self-flagellation to the point of paralysis. He or she is simply and creatively trying to harvest the fruit that seems out of reach for most. It is a type of obsessive compulsive behavior, only this time with a goal in mind. They are never completely satisfied, but at the same time patient with the process. They usually cultivate a healthy skepticism without destroying confidence, and nourish an inner life without becoming insular. They are able to forgive and move on unencumbered, and seem at peace only when their hands and mind are moving. Craftsmen worth emulating find themselves in a problem solving mode even while doing the rudimentary. They are focused, disciplined, and patient with themselves. And I want to be one of those guys when I grow up.
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