Simon Terry

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Mastery takes Time

Before we connected the world in an instantaneous network, we understood mastery takes time. Now we often forget that we can’t leap to learning.

I’ve had many conversations recently where people have wanted to move quickly to mastery. Stakeholder expectations are high. Everything else is available at the push of a button. Where’s the shortcut to mastery?

Mastery takes learning. Remember the apprenticeships of the pre-industrial era were seven years long. Seven years lifted you to journeyman practice. A lifetime of learning and teaching others lifted you to master.

While access to information has changed, we have not necessarily transformed the pace at which we learn by putting skills into practice. We can find best practices easily but using them and moving to mastery is something else

Mastery depends on context. Mastering your particular purpose in your domain is unique to you. Your practice will be in a specific domain. Other’s practices may not fit. Discovering this context, purpose and clarifying the domain can take its own time.

Mastery takes continuous practice. Mastery is the ever continuing quest to learn, experiment and improve. Mastery is the domain of next practice. Practice takes time. We like to hear sorting superstars talk of their success. We often fail to focus on the decades of dedicated practice that makes that brief moment of mastery.

Our obsession with speed can mean we devalue the slow. That is a mistake when it comes to mastery. Mastery is something we have a lifetime to practice.


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