Mastery

UPDATE: This really isn’t the best way of quantifying any road to mastery. It might not be a bad way to quantify what you’ve done in the past and where you quit along the way. Read the book “Mastery.” 

Something I saw once on a forum (I was a participant) had us rate all of our perceived skills on a 1 to 10 scale. I don’t remember how or even if that scale was defined, but this is my interpretation:

0: Yes, there is a zero. These activities shouldn’t show up on your list, but they’re the activities you have no interest of ever learning.

1: Some of this list is subjective, but 0 and 1 are hardly. A 1 is an interest that has not been acted upon or that you’ve just started learning about. For me these are plentiful right now. I have the basic supplies for watercolor and would like to learn how to paint with them. If I cannot perform some of the most basic tasks, I may be a 1.

2-4: These are subjective levels of early learning. In cooking, a commonly self-taught activity, these might represent the difficulty of a recipe you can perform with mistakes. A 2 can cook basic ingredients (rice, vegetables, etc). A 3 can make simple compound recipes (a basic cake or bread from scratch, perhaps). A 4 is only missing tough techniques (a soufflé might be beyond 4).

5: The foundation is complete. A 5 should be able to do nearly anything by recipe. A sports or game player will have a natural feel for the basic method of play. No competitions will be won at this level, but adequate results are expected.

6-8: This is a highly subjective progresion toward mastery. Different activities may have different milestones. For all of these grades, it should feel natural to perform this activity. In the game I used to study (Go, an ancient board game) there are several higher grade stepping stones. I passed at least 2-3 of these and might consider myself around a 7. (For those in the know, I was at or near shodan).

9: Amateur Mastery. This is an activity you perform often and at a very high level. Continuing from this point, if possible, would require you to work only at this activity. This level can be a part of your job. The word “Amateur” is used to represent the fact that it is not your primary devotion.

10: Professional Mastery. This is your primary activity. It is performed daily, at length, and at an extremely high level. Few people reach this level in any single activity.

Mastery (the book) I highly recommend this book as a discussion about mastery. Nobody seems to reach 10 in my rankings and this book seems to lament this fact. It’s been a while since I’ve read it, but it may be time for a reread!

I would love to reach mastery in some activity. I’m not afraid of the work – I just get bored of things by the time I reach the 6-8 phase. I need to make a concerted effort to reach that level.

Something I saw once on a forum (I was a participant) had us rate all of our perceived skills on a 1 to 10 scale. I don’t remember how or even if that scale was defined, but this is my interpretation:

0: Yes, there is a zero. These activities shouldn’t show up on your list, but they’re the activities you have no interest of ever learning.

1: Some of this list is subjective, but 0 and 1 are hardly. A 1 is an interest that has not been acted upon or that you’ve just started learning about. For me these are plentiful right now. I have the basic supplies for watercolor and would like to learn how to paint with them. If I cannot perform some of the most basic tasks, I may be a 1.

2-4: These are subjective levels of early learning. In cooking, a commonly self-taught activity, these might represent the difficulty of a recipe you can perform with mistakes. A 2 can cook basic ingredients (rice, vegetables, etc). A 3 can make simple compound recipes (a basic cake or bread from scratch, perhaps). A 4 is only missing tough techniques (a soufflé might be beyond 4).

5: The foundation is complete. A 5 should be able to do nearly anything by recipe. A sports or game player will have a natural feel for the basic method of play. No competitions will be won at this level, but adequate results are expected.

6-8: This is a highly subjective progresion toward mastery. Different activities may have different milestones. For all of these grades, it should feel natural to perform this activity. In the game I used to study (Go, an ancient board game) there are several higher grade stepping stones. I passed at least 2-3 of these and might consider myself around a 7. (For those in the know, I was at or near shodan).

9: Amateur Mastery. This is an activity you perform often and at a very high level. Continuing from this point, if possible, would require you to work only at this activity. This level can be a part of your job. The word “Amateur” is used to

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