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Book Information

Book Cover

Author: George Leonard

Title: Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfillment

Published: 1992


  • There are things in live we would like to be good at, things we want to master. Be it touch typing, programming or writing books or making video. This process is what we know as mastery.
  • Mastery is a journey. It is a path. It is a long and sometimes rocky path, and it promises no quick and easy payoffs. To take on this journey, you have to practice diligently, hone your skills and try to attain new levels of competence. And you must also be willing to spend most of your time on a plateu, to keep practicing even when you seem to be getting nowhere.
  • In summary, the best move toward mastery is to practice diligently, to practice for the sake of practice itself, and to learn to appreciate and enjoy plateu.
  • Most people fall into one of this category on their path to mastery:
    • The Dabbler, starts with enthusiasm, quit when hit with plateu and move on to other stuff.
    • Obsessive, focus on the result, and want it fast. Redoubles his effort when facing plateu, even when it means sacrificing his personal life.
    • Hacker, get good at things, but makes no effort for further improvement.
  • Five keys to mastery:
    1. Instruction, find a first-rate instruction from a teacher.
    2. Practice, love the practice.
    3. Surrender, surrender to your teacher and to the demands of your discipline.
    4. Intentionality, bring your mental game along.
    5. The edge, challenge previous limits, take risks for the sake of higher performance, and even to become obsessive.
  • Tools for mastery
    • Beware of homeostatis (a pull to go the old you)
    • Negotiate with your resistance
    • Develop a support system
    • Follow a regular practice
    • Dedicate yourself to lifelong learning
    • Maintain physical fitness
    • Acknowledge the negative and accentuate the positive
    • Try telling the truth
    • Honor but don't indulge your own dark side.
    • Set your priorities
    • Make commitments. Take actions.
  • Pitfall along the path
    • Conflicting way of life
    • Obsessive goal orientation
    • Poor instruction
    • Lack of competitiveness
    • Laziness
    • Injuries
    • Drugs
    • Prizes and medals
    • Vanity
    • Dead seriousness
    • Inconsistency
    • Perfectionism