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Justin Wright

Monday Velocity - Rocky Road of Mastery

publishedabout 2 months ago
2 min read

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Rocky Road of Mastery

Early on, naïveté saves us from understanding how far off we are. We have the excitement of new beginnings combined with rapid early progress. We take shots, shoot high, and fail low. Nothing seems out of reach.

When we learn a little more we realize how wrong we were. We understand how much goes into the things we thought we could do before. We know how to do it right, but realize we are incapable of doing so. Our naïveté is replaced with feeling overwhelmed and deflated.

This is where many people plateau. They can’t get over the hump required to bridge the gap between knowledge and skill. More importantly, their fear of failure and fear of judgement stop them from trying.

It's easy to think that someone is always watching, judging your failures and laughing at your inability. What we fail to realize is that every master, every expert we look up to walked the same path. No one picked up a paintbrush and created a masterpiece in one stroke. One of my close friends is the best photo-realistic pencil artist I know; if you were to look at her early childhood work it seems impossible that it was created by the same person. Such is the path to mastery.

The only way to overcome this dreaded plateau is to do the work anyways. Understand that you won’t yet be able to achieve what you want; your skills need to catch up, and you just need more reps. If you can overcome the embarrassment of being a beginner and persevere, eventually your skills will catch up to your vision. That’s when the real work begins.


Hit List

The most interesting things I've encountered this week

A life-changing film: In and of Itself by Derek Delgaudio

I have mentioned this film in the past, but it's something I like to return to when I need perspective on life. My recommendation is to dive in without any preconceived notions or reading any reviews. Just experience it, fully present, and reflect.

What I'm monitoring: Kalshi Markets Forecast

This website posts a ton of stats and analyses on current and future market conditions. I originally saw their fed funds rate forecast which helped me make sense of current economic conditions in the US, but their other charts, stats, and graphs are interesting as well.

What I’m Watching: Evil on Paramount+

This fictional show centers around a team of investigators working for the Catholic Church who are trying to determine whether supernatural, demonic events are real or fake. The interesting part of the show is the composition of the team itself: a priest, a scientist, and a psychologist. In a world of overreaction and finger-pointing, the emphasis on collaborative thinking and healthy debate is a welcome element of the show.


Quote of the week:

"The problem with all students, he said, is that they inevitably stop somewhere. They hear an idea and they hold on to it until it becomes dead; they want to flatter themselves that they know the truth. But true Zen never stops, never congeals into such truths. That is why everyone must constantly be pushed to the abyss, starting over and feeling their utter worthlessness as a student. Without suffering and doubts, the mind will come to rest on clichés and stay there, until the spirit dies as well. Not even enlightenment is enough. You must continually start over and challenge yourself."
- Robert Greene, Mastery

Mastery is an excellent, in-depth read on the process behind expertise. It's dense, but snippets like the quote above paint a picture of the time, dedication, and sacrifice required to gain mastery in any field. The key is the ability to let ego go and forever embrace the mindset of a student.