The professional never stops studying their craft. They never stop training, and they never stop trying to make the distinctions that allow them to improve their performance.
The amateur stops learning as soon as they achieve some basic level of competence. They stop training , and they don’t focus on learning more, even when it will improve their performance.
The professional is open to new ideas. They don’t criticize the way other people do things. Instead, they try to understand why someone else does it different, what that person sees, and how it might sometimes be useful.
The amateur isn’t open to new ideas. Because they are full of fear, they criticize and belittle new ideas and people who do things differently. They never look deep enough into something new or how it might benefit them.
The professional prepares. The professional has rituals that they have built and refined over time. This preparation allows them to deliver exceptional results.
To the amateur, preparation looks boring and unnecessary. They refuse to invest the time and energy into preparation, and because they are unprepared, they produce shoddy and haphazard results (when they produce any results).
The professional focuses on the fundamentals. They are never bored practicing something they have rehearsed and executed a thousand times before. It’s their mastery of the fundamentals that make them professional.
The amateur seeks novelty. They are easily bored and float from one thing to the next, believing that the results they seek will be found in the next big thing.
The professional doesn’t need anything more the fundamental tools of her trade. She knows that it isn’t the tools that make the performance.
The amateur looks the part. They have all of the latest and greatest tools, none of which improves their performance.
The professional doesn’t make excuses. He doesn’t take shortcuts. He takes his time and pours himself into his work.
The amateur believes that their lack of results are someone else’s fault, someone else’s responsibility. He takes shortcuts. He does as little work as necessary.
Each of us makes a choice as to how we approach our work. You can choose the more difficult path of the professional and do work that makes a difference. Or you can dabble with the amateurs and try to scrape by.