Master the basics.

By Younas Chaudhary

In my younger days in Pakistan, a shepherd lived in our village farmhouse. He was an expert in taking care of his herd. He was meticulous and could easily tell if a sheep was about to fall sick or if it needed particular care. I would carefully observe his passion and devotion to the basics while tending to his herd.

Younas Chaudhary

That shepherd had mastered the basics of his trade. He was punctual, enthusiastic, passionate, and even knew all his sheep count. Other shepherds sought his counsel.

Mastery of the basics is important even if we find them ritualistic or redundant. I learned the importance of mastering the basics of waking up early every morning from my parents who, at the crack of dawn every day, would get ready for their morning prayer ritual. In the rare event that I did not see my father praying in the morning, he would be sick and in bed.  

I learned at an early age that mastery of the fundamentals was important, no matter what profession you were in. In the 1980’s, when I came to Kansas to scout for oil, I knew nothing about the energy business. However, I was eager to learn and really wanted to understand the basics of oil and gas wells, leasing, drilling, production, and costs. I had to master how to prepare oil leases, write land descriptions, and learn oil terminology that I had never heard before. With a pencil in hand, I would sit for countless hours studying physical oil and gas maps to understand details of the land leasing, how to write leases, and learn about the land’s history.

With no past knowledge of a landman’s role, no engineering degree, no background in geology, the only thing I knew was to learn the basics of the oil and gas industry. I wanted to be a landman, a geologist, and an engineer at the same time!

I knew this was hard, but I would often look at the topography of a land and try to figure out trends in oil wells production including where it would possibly go next, and all the dry areas and patches in between.

As business grew, I hired a geologist and he had the patience to teach me a lot of basic details regarding oil wells, their trends, drilling, production, and so forth. All of us want to be well-rounded but at the end of the day, you must master one thing well. This requires consistency and sacrifice. I used to work from dawn to dusk, seven days a week, to understand how to acquire oil and gas leases and wells, how to produce oil effectively, and how to deal with landowners.  

Over time I learned that sharing your knowledge and mastery with others is important. I have learned more from local oilfield pumpers and landowners about oil and gas wells than from high-ranking officials in big oil and gas majors who went to Ivy League universities.

Mastering a skill requires time and patience as you will not be able to learn everything overnight. You need hours, days, months and years of practice and dedication. I am much better today than I was 40 years ago, and I continue to learn today! Blessings.


The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article are my own and do not represent the opinions of any entity with which I have been, am now, or will be affiliated. Further, I make no warranty regarding the accuracy or effectiveness of my recommendations, and readers are advised to consult other advisors as well as their own judgments in making business decisions.

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