I was at a sake tasting last night listening to a lecture on how sake is made. I got a real sense for the craftsmanship that goes into sake making. It seems that high end sake almost exclusively does one key part of the process by hand, though they could easily get machines to do something almost as good.
I can relate to this craftsmanship, because I experience it in my daily life through my iaido practice. And, this feeling is what I want to share. The sense of reward and accomplishment that has nothing to do with materialism. It’s in the pride they take in making a “perfect” sake. It’s the pride that I have each time I leave practice with all 10 fingers (still attached).
Craftsmanship is not just for hobbies and esoteric arts. Yesterday, I was using a voice conferencing system I thought a five year old could have designed better. A simple voice conferencing system… you’d think we (as humans) have solved that problem! Nope. Clearly, someone has missed an opportunity to shine.
For sure, materialism has its place in our world. I don’t think these sake guys would make very good sake after dying of hunger or disease! But, there is a definite fulfillment that comes when pursuing a craft. I believe all the economic uncertainty we’re facing right now will demand that we find fulfillment elsewhere.
I came across an ebook today. It took me all of 15 minutes to read. It’s funny, but serious at the same time. It’s chock-full of advice, and contrary to the title applies to freelancers and anyone underemployed by their own company. In particular, I really liked a lot of what Charlie said, but three bits of advice to hopefully entice you to read his book are:
- Treat everyone as if they were your friend.
- Stop reading the newspapers.
- From page 28, be helpful, be that type of person he’s talking about on this page!
Some personal advice on that last point… it’s amazing how many people want to help when you ask. This internet thing is great for just that. But more importantly, helping others excel at their craft just feels really freaking good.
Go ahead, read it and see if you can be successful enough to “sail your yacht into your boss’ beach house.”