This is How to Get Really Good at What You Do

I wrote my first article ever in April of 2013.

When I published it, I had three readers; my mom, my brother, and my girlfriend.

Back then, I couldn’t even imagine that my writing would someday get featured by some of the most popular publications in the world.

I mean, why would it? English isn’t my native language, and I’d had almost no experience with writing.

Fast forward three years and huge publications like The Daily Muse and Lifehacker have used my articles.

And 2,500+ awesome readers have joined my newsletter.

How did this happen?

Mastering the Fundamentals

I’m well aware that I’m not the greatest writer in the world. Far from it.

But I think I’ve built enough expertise to have something helpful to say about how to develop it.

And, as I’ve done many times before, I’ll be emphasizing the importance of mastering the fundamentals.

As I see it, there are two types of fundamentals:

  • Universal fundamentals — These are the keystone habits every human needs to feel great and perform at their very best.
  • Individual fundamentals — These are the specific areas you need to work on consistently to become a master at your craft.

Let’s look closely at both of them.

Universal Fundamentals

The Spartans had a Warrior Creed I try to live my life by. It said: “He who sweats more in training bleeds less in war.”

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a Spartan warrior (although, that would be pretty badass), a writer, a painter, a teacher, a construction worker, or something else entirely.

No matter what you do, you need to prepare yourself like an athlete.

If you want to become so good they can’t ignore you; you have to arrange your days in a way that you feel great and consistently perform at your very best.

There are four fundamental keystone habits for doing this.

The benefits of each one of them are so powerful that scientists often refer to them as natural ‘magic pills’.

Master them all at once and you’ll naturally slip into peak performance.

These habits are:

  1. Eating healthy.
  2. Exercise.
  3. Sleep.
  4. Meditation.

(To learn more about these universal fundamentals, and how to make them a natural part of your life, click here.)

Individual Fundamentals

Warren Buffett is considered one of the most successful investors in the world and consistently ranks among the world’s wealthiest people (1).

In his 1996 Shareholder Letter (2), he wrote:

What an investor needs is the ability to correctly evaluate selected businesses. Note that word “selected”: You don’t have to be an expert on every company, or even many. You only have to be able to evaluate companies within your circle of competence. The size of that circle is not very important; knowing its boundaries, however, is vital.

No matter what you’re trying to get really good at, the ‘circle of competence’ concept is very useful.

By answering the question: “What will my circle of competence be?”, you’ll know your boundaries.

You’ll understand where to focus your efforts and, perhaps even more importantly, where to stop wasting your time.

My individual fundamentals are:

  1. Teaching — Writing, coaching & (at some point) speaking.
  2. Learning — Habits, behavior change & how to live.
  3. Promoting — Get my work in front of as many people as possible.

As long as I’m spending the bulk of my time within these areas, I know I’m on the right track.

Each day that I learn something, teach something, and promote what I teach, is a day well spent because my circle of competence has gotten stronger.

But I’m using my individual fundamentals as an example, of course. Your list will likely be very different from mine.

What’s important is that you take the time to uncover them. Because once you do, you’ll be able to focus your energy consistently within your unique circle of competence.

And that way, you’ll consistently get better and better at your craft.

Focus on Your Fundamentals by Default

I sort everything in my daily schedule into buckets related to my fundamentals.

If something doesn’t fit into one of them, I always ask myself an extra time if it’s something I should be doing.

Most likely, it’s not, and I delete it so I can put as much time as possible back into my fundamentals instead.

By doing this, I arrange my days so that I naturally turn my attention to what’s most important by default.

Does this guarantee that I always get the most out of my days? No, but it makes it far more likely.

Brick by brick, I keep building my fundament until it’s strong enough to support my dreams.

And this is how I’ve made the successes I’ve had so far possible.

How to Get Really Good at What You Do, In Summary:

get really good
  • To get really good at what you do, you need to master the fundamentals.
  • There are two types of fundamentals; universal and individual.
  • The universal fundamentals are eating healthy, sleep, exercise, and meditation.
  • Your individual fundamentals are in your circle of competence.
  • To consistently practice your fundamentals, schedule them, so they become what you do by default every day.

Now, I do realize that you may not have a 100 percent control over your schedule. If that’s the case, simply do what you can with what you have.

Figure out how to make a little time for your fundamentals each day.

Forget about the results you want, and instead start obsessing about showing up and laying at least one brick every day.

If you can do that, the results you want will inevitably show up as a side-effect of your consistent efforts. And probably much sooner than you think.

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” – Robert Louis Stevenson


  1. Warren Buffett
  2. Warren Buffett’s 1996 Shareholder Letter

Thank you

Joel Lindmark (Society6), for creating the image in this article.

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