August 8th, 2012 by Jan

In George Leonard’s book Mastery, he writes about the hacker, obsessive, dabbler and the master. My biggest take from this book is from the section about hitting plateaus and how we react when we reach one. Everyone who has a practice makes progress over the long haul, but on that journey, everyone will also, at some point, reach a flat place. It is on the plateau our commitment, accountability and ambition come to challenge or haunt us.

A dabbler will probably walk away and try something totally different. An obsessive will double up on their training, buy another book or, take another class. The hacker will talk about how they knew someone who did this or that when things got flat, actually the hacker probably won’t even know they are on a plateau. The master will just keep on practicing.

I think the society we live in hates the plateau; there’s a general feeling that something wrong with not progressing, worse is going backwards, but must we always be striving for more, better and different? I know I tend to want to do better, even when I’m doing my best.

I see now that I am on a plateau. Things are flat. And while mastery is not my intent, practice is. So allow me to calm down, continue to practice, and post more puppy pictures than wise words, for a while.

Thanks to the books I read, personal experience, and the advice of amazing people. I will sally forth!

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