How Can an Amateur Become a Pro?

In our journey through life, whether it’s in our careers, our hobbies, or our personal pursuits, we all start as amateurs. 

However, we have a distinct advantage: we are always prepared for the long journey ahead.

Today, we’ll explore the principles that can guide our transformation from amateur to professional.

First, let us explore the fundamental difference between an amateur and a professional. 

An amateur plays for the game, whereas professional plays for the practice. 

An amateur seeks the thrill of success, and the glamour of the spotlight, while a professional understands that true accomplishment lies in the grit and grind of everyday work. 

In the words of Epictetus,

Don’t explain your philosophy. Embody it.

1. Accept What is Within Your Control

You may have dreamed of being a professional basketball player, but at 5’6″, the chances are slim. You could spend your days wishing to be taller, or you could focus on the aspects you can control – improving your skills, enhancing your strategy, developing unparalleled speed and agility.

Amateurs often pin their hopes on factors outside of their control – a lucky break, an unexpected opportunity. 

As stoics, we know that this is a fruitless pursuit. We accept that what truly matters is not the hand we’re dealt, but how we play our cards. 

A professional focuses on perfecting their craft, on relentlessly improving themselves, no matter the external circumstances.

2. Embrace Discomfort and Learn from Failure

Remember when you were learning to ride a bike? You fell, you scraped your knees, and sometimes you wanted to give up. But you didn’t. You got back on, bruised but determined, and you kept trying until you were zooming down the street, the wind in your hair.

Failure is terrifying. It can shatter dreams, bruise egos, and create doubts. Yet, as stoics, we understand the invaluable lessons that failure imparts. 

A professional doesn’t dread failure; they embrace it, learn from it, and use it to fuel their journey. 

In the timeless words of Seneca,

Difficulties strengthen the mind, as labor does the body.

3. Cultivate Discipline

Remember when you were learning to ride a bike? You fell, you scraped your knees, and sometimes you wanted to give up. But you didn’t. You got back on, bruised but determined, and you kept trying until you were zooming down the street, the wind in your hair.

Passion is a flame that can dwindle with time, but discipline is a resource that fuels consistent effort.

An amateur might rely on sporadic bursts of motivation, but a professional knows that consistent, disciplined effort is key.

4. Seek Criticism, Not Praise

Imagine you’re baking a cake for the first time, and you ask a friend for their opinion. If they just praised your efforts without pointing out the too-dry sponge or the overly sweet frosting, you wouldn’t know what to improve. A real friend wouldn’t just praise; they’d also critique, helping you refine your recipe.

Feedback, especially criticism, is the crucible in which our skills and talents are refined. 

An amateur might cringe at criticism, but a professional seeks it out, understanding its value in their path to perfection. 

In stoicism, we find a similar ethos. We learn to discard the fear of others’ opinions and focus on refining ourselves.

5. Action Over Words

You’ve got a friend who always talks about starting a business. They’ve got ideas, plans, dreams – but they never actually do anything about it. Compare them to your other friend who had a simple idea, started small, made mistakes, learned from them, and is now running a successful business. The difference? Action over words.

Stoicism teaches us the value of action over words. In the journey from amateur to professional, this principle is paramount. 

An amateur might be content with talking about their ambitions, but a professional put these ambitions into action, understanding that dreams are realized through relentless effort and perseverance.

Epictetus’s words echo this sentiment perfectly

Don’t just say you have read books. Show that through them you have learned to think better, to be a more discriminating and reflective person.


In essence, the journey from amateur to professional is a journey from chaos to order, from dreaming to doing, and from fearing failure to embracing it.

The stoic principles align seamlessly with this journey, providing us the mental and emotional fortitude to become the best versions of ourselves.

Remember the words

It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that things are difficult.

Spread the word. Share your love.
Garv Chawla
Garv Chawla
Articles: 413

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