Turning Pro - Deepstash
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De-escalate Office Tension

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Being Human

Being Human

There are many different ways to frame the fundamental struggle of what it means to be human: trying to fulfill our potential. Science has the therapeutic model, in which some disease or condition must be cured and religion has the moral model, which says we must pay for our sins. However, there’s a third model, a much simpler one: the model of the amateur and the professional.

  • You can divide your life neatly into two parts: before turning pro and after.
  • All you have to do to turn pro is decide.
  • When you turn pro, life gets easier.


96 reads

From Amateur To Pro: The Premise

From Amateur To Pro: The Premise

  • The defining trait of the amateur is the fear of being who she is and getting rejected for it.
  • A central obstacle for the amateur is that he always chases some guru or authority.
  • When you do your work for the sake of its practice and nothing else, that’s when you turn pro.


91 reads

Growing Up

Growing Up

  • Do you remember where you were on 9/11? You’ll remember where you were when you turn pro.
  • When we’re afraid to embrace our true calling, we pursue a shadow calling instead.
  • The difference between an amateur and a professional is in their habits. An amateur has amateur habits. A professional has professional habits.
  • Turning pro is like kicking a drug habit or stopping drinking. It’s a decision, a decision to which we must re-commit every day.


81 reads

The Shadow Life Most Of Us Live Daily

The Shadow Life Most Of Us Live Daily

  • If you’re dissatisfied with your current life, ask yourself what your current life is a metaphor for. That metaphor will point you toward your true calling.
  • Becoming a pro, in the end, is nothing grander than growing up.
  • In the shadow life, we live in denial and we act by addiction. The shadow life is the life of the amateur.
  • The longer we cleave to this life, the farther we drift from our true purpose, and the harder it becomes for us to rally the courage to get back.


62 reads


Ambition, I have come to believe, is the most primal and sacred fundament of our being. To feel ambition and to act upon it is to embrace the unique calling of our souls. Not to act upon that ambition is to turn our backs on ourselves and on the reason for our existence.



66 reads

The Shadow Career

The Shadow Career

The shadow career is a metaphor for our real career. Its shape is similar, its contours feel tantalizingly the same. But a shadow career entails no real risk. If we fail at a shadow career, the consequences are meaningless to us.

Sometimes it’s easier to be a professional in a shadow career than it is to turn pro in our real calling.

You can spend your whole life living a shadow career. But it’s turning pro in the craft of your calling that will bring you enduring fulfillment.


57 reads

Addicts Vs Creators

Addicts Vs Creators

Every addiction shares two qualities:

  • They embody repetition without progress.
  • They produce incapacity as a payoff.

Amateurs are addicts; professionals are artists.

Amateurs use addiction (distractions, displacement activities, drugs, etc.) to run away from their calling, which is the obligation to become our truest and highest selves.


61 reads

Traits Of An Amateur

Traits Of An Amateur

  • Amateurs are terrified
  • Amateurs are egoists
  • Amateurs live by the opinions of others
  • Amateurs permit fear to stop them from trying
  • Amateurs are easily distracted
  • Amateurs seek instant gratification
  • Amateurs are jealous
  • Amateurs lack compassion for themselves
  • Amateurs seek permission
  • Amateurs live for the future and live in the past
  • Amateurs will be ready tomorrow
  • Amateurs give away their power to others
  • Amateurs are asleep


61 reads

Turning Pro

Turning Pro

Turning pro is a decision. It’s a decision to pursue your calling in the face of overwhelming fear. It’s a decision to structure your life to confront that fear day after day. It’s a decision to develop the habits that your professional craft requires. It’s a decision to wake up.

The pro mindset is a discipline that we use to overcome Resistance. To defeat the self-sabotaging habits of procrastination, self-doubt, susceptibility to distraction, perfectionism, and shallowness, we enlist the self-strengthening habits of order, regularity, discipline, and a constant striving after excellence.


58 reads

Traits Of A Pro

Traits Of A Pro

  • Patient
  • Seeks order
  • Demystifies
  • Acts in the face of fear
  • Accepts no excuses
  • Plays it as it lays
  • Does not show off
  • Dedicates himself to mastering technique
  • Does not hesitate to ask for help
  • Does not take failure or success personally
  • Does not identify with his or her instrument
  • Endures adversity
  • Self-validates
  • Reinvents himself
  • Is recognized by other professionals


57 reads

Qualities That Indicate Pro-ness

Qualities That Indicate Pro-ness

A Pro:

  • Is courageous
  • Will not be distracted: “The amateur tweets. The pro works.”
  • Is ruthless with himself
  • Has compassion for himself
  • Lives in the present
  • Defers gratification
  • Does not wait for inspiration
  • Does not give his power away to others
  • Helps others


55 reads

The Practice

Professionals follow a practice, which is “a rigorous, prescribed regimen with the intention of elevating the mind and the spirit to a higher level.” This is true for writers, yogis, bankers, and directors.

A practice has a few elements:

  • A space: a unique place to work on your craft
  • A time: a period where you work on your craft
  • An intention: To get better, go deeper, etc.
  • Lifelong: There is no finish line.


52 reads

Primal Fear

Primal Fear

Fear is the primary color of the amateur’s interior world. Fear of failure, fear of success, fear of looking foolish, fear of under-achieving and fear of over-achieving, fear of poverty, fear of loneliness, fear of death. 

Most importantly, the fear of being excluded from the tribe, i.e., the family, nation, race, religion.

The amateur fears that if he turns pro and lives out his calling, he will have to live up to who he really is and what he is truly capable of. The amateur is terrified that if the tribe should discover who he really is, he will be kicked out into the cold to die


44 reads

Everything Becomes Simple

Everything Becomes Simple

  • Life gets very simple when you turn pro.
  • We finally listen to that still, small voice inside our heads.
  • Before we turn pro, our life is dominated by fear and Resistance. We live in a state of denial. We’re denying the voice in our heads. We’re denying our calling. We’re denying who we really are. We’re fleeing from our fear into an addiction or a shadow career. What changes when we turn pro is we stop fleeing.
  • When we turn pro, we stop running from our fears. We turn around and face them.


54 reads



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