When we are in the process of personal development, we are often tempted to look for something new, that little something that will make the difference. This inquisitive spirit is a sure ally of progress, but it can also be a distraction from our fundamentals. To excel in a field is often to master a combination of skills that need to be honed throughout your career. By trying too hard to be new, we distract ourselves from the basics, losing more than we could have gained in the end. This is why it is important to always keep in mind your fundamentals.
Whether it is in sports or in a professional career, the habit of reviewing your basics is a crucial element. Without this approach, one cannot build new skills. In order to explore new trends or potential levers for improvement, we need to be sure that we maintain what made us successful before. Of course, you have to be able to take risks by venturing into new areas or sectors, but you also have to know how to transpose your strengths to these new spheres in order to increase your chances of success.
Revisiting your fundamentals involves an effort of clarity in order to make informed decisions. If you’re running around trying to figure out how to improve, you haven’t done enough clarification work. Strengthening your foundation allows for safe but linear growth, whereas exploring new fields or techniques can offer exponential gain, but it is a much riskier gamble. That’s why it’s customary to apply Pareto’s law by spending 80% of your time and energy on things that are known and safe, and 20% on new areas of progress that may prove beneficial, but have greater uncertainty. Depending on your risk aversion, you could vary these figures.