Musings

The pursuit of mastery

“Mastery is in the reaching, not the arriving. It’s in constantly wanting to close that gap between where you are and where you want to be. Mastery is about sacrificing for your craft and not for the sake of crafting your career. How many inventors and untold entrepreneurs live out this phenomenon?

We thrive when we stay at our own leading edge. It’s a wisdom understood by Duke Ellington, who said that his favorite song out of his repertoire was always the next one, always the one he had yet to compose. Part of the reason that the near win is inbuilt to mastery is because the greater our proficiency, the more clearly we might see that we don’t know all that we thought we did. It’s called the Dunning–Kruger effect. The Paris Review got it out of James Baldwin when they asked him, “What do you think increases with knowledge?” and he said, “You learn how little you know.”

Success motivates us, but a near win can propel us in an ongoing quest.”

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