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A book that changed my life broken down (Mastery by George Leonard)

Discussion in 'Member Book Reviews/Journals/Blogs' started by Malkhaz, Aug 19, 2014.

  1. Malkhaz

    Malkhaz New Member

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    Big Idea 1: The path to mastery looks completely different than what you have been taught.

    If you are like most people, you have been taught that you just need to work hard and you will keep getting better and better every day. If you have bought into this type of social conditioning, the mastery curve in your head looks something like this…

    [​IMG]

    However, Leonard realizes how unrealistic this is and proposes a much better alternative to what the path actually looks like…

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    Here, the important notion of plateau is introduced. Notice that a master’s journey is mostly spent on a plateau. The progress appears after dedicated time on the plateau and can even be followed by regress (this is when you have just deadlifted your personal record and two weeks later, even though you have strictly stuck to your lifting regimen, you might deadlift less weight), but the new plateau is now higher than your previous one (After six months of dedication to proper lifting and nutrition, your deadlift plateau will be much higher than six months ago). This is the realistic nature of progress, and anyone who has dedicated serious time to exercising, playing an instrument, or any other kind of path to mastery will identify with this instantly.
     
  2. Malkhaz

    Malkhaz New Member

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    Big Idea 2: Mastery is not a goal or a destination. Rather, it is a process, a journey.

    No matter what kind of proficiency you achieve on your journey, you will never get to a final destination; you will never become perfect at anything. Therefore, once you realize that there is no ultimate goal, you must optimize your process and become process-oriented instead of goal-oriented.

    In practical terms, if you want to improve running, make sure you are following the optimal type of running regimen and nutrition while simultaneously letting go of the notion of some ultimate final goal and fully enjoying the process. Enjoying the process is essential since we now realize that most of the master’s journey is spent on a plateau. If you do not figure out a way to enjoy the process and abandon the goal-oriented mindset, you will soon find yourself falling off the path where plateau is the norm.

    When Cristiano Ronaldo was a little kid playing soccer, he did not focus on the fame and wealth the sport would bring him, but rather he focused on soccer itself and enjoyed the process perhaps quite more than anyone around him. As he progressed along his path, different coaches optimized his training regimen so he would become even greater. However, as a little kid in Portugal or a professional in Madrid, the one thing has stayed the same and that is his utter enjoyment of the sport, his process-orientation.

    This kind of mindset can be hard to adopt, since it goes against everything you have been taught. Study hard so you get good grades… Get good grades so you graduate high school and get into college… Get into college so you can have a good job… Get a good job so you can have a nice house and a car. There is no room for enjoying the process in a culture that propagates this type of ideology.
     
  3. Malkhaz

    Malkhaz New Member

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    Big Idea 3: The three characters you do not want to be on your path to mastery (Meet the dabbler, the obsessive, and the hacker).

    The dabbler cannot wait to get started and approaches every new activity with extreme enthusiasm. However, as soon as he falls off from his first peak, he becomes shocked, confused, and depressed. As a result, he is unable to stay on the path to mastery in the long-run. This is a person who buys everything one could for running and ends up running for a week and then simply stops. He becomes passionate about playing the piano, gets a brand new keyboard, and after playing for a week and realizing he is not constantly progressing will never touch the instrument again. He is the definition of Carl Jung’s Puer Aeternus or the “eternal kid.”

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    The obsessive wants to get everything perfect the first time. He does extra unnecessary work. He is incapable of finding perfection on a path where perfection simply does not exist, and takes the hit very hard when it inevitably occurs. This is a person who wants to serve perfectly on his first day of playing tennis.

    [​IMG]

    The Hacker is willing to stay on the plateau indefinitely after getting the hang of it. This is a person who has worked at the same job in the same position for decades, makes enough money to pay the rent, enjoys the comfort zone, and will stay in it until he dies.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. Malkhaz

    Malkhaz New Member

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    Big Idea 5: Understand Homeostasis.

    Homeostasis strives to maintain equilibrium in our bodies and resists change. This is not a bad thing. You want your body to make sure that it is in a certain range of temperature. If you are running and you are getting close to injuring your knee, your body will give you signals to slow down. Therefore, do not look at it as a bad thing.

    However, be aware of it and realize whether it is forcing you to resist positive change or negative change. Cultivate the ability to discern between the type of pain in the gym which merely suggests that your body is doing something it is not used and the type of pain that is signaling you that you are about to break your back.
     
  5. Malkhaz

    Malkhaz New Member

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    Big Idea 6: Be a master at everything. Literally everything.

    Most people think of mastery as being almost perfect at a popular skill. We have already discussed that mastery is not about perfection but rather the path. In addition to this, we must realize that being an ultimate master involves being a master at literally everything you do, no matter how commonplace. If you spend a few minutes thinking about your life, most of your activities are commonplace such as caring about your hygiene, driving, cleaning the house, etc. Therefore, Leonard urges us to become a master at everything including the commonplace, since that is the majority of our lives.

    Leonard says, “a person who can vacuum an entire house without once losing his composure, staying balanced, centered, and focused on the process rather than hoping for its completion, is a person who knows something about mastery.”
     
  6. Malkhaz

    Malkhaz New Member

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    Big idea 7: To be a learner you have to be willing to be a fool.

    We already talked about the importance of humility while learning, and this final idea emphasizes that notion and simply entails rejecting the fear of seeming a fool. Maslow’s “second naivety” is a childlike quality in people who have met an unusually high degree of their potential such as Mozart, Einstein, etc. They were able to do this because they were willing to be a fool.

    Jigoro Kano, the founder of judo, gathered his students around as he approached death and requested that he be buried in his white belt. This is both humbling and realistic. At the moment of death, we all become white belts.

    Are you willing to wear your white belt?!
     
  7. Malkhaz

    Malkhaz New Member

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    The video entails one of my favorite ideas from this book. I hope you enjoy.
     

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