“We fail to realize that mastery is not about perfection. It’s about a process, a
journey. The master is the one who stays on the path day after day, year after year.
The master is the one who is willing to try, and fail, and try again, for as long as he
or she lives.”
~ George Leonard from Mastery
Leonard goes on to say “How do you best move toward mastery? To put it simply, you practice diligently, but you practice primarily for the sake of the practice itself.”
This is true for any skill you are developing, or new habit you are integrating into your life. Your consistency results from drawing on your grit, your persistence to show up regularly in order to invest your effort in the practice. This occurred as I gained mastery in qigong; it also happens when I paint consistently. And I experience this “practice” with my morning exercise routine. I’ve noticed that when my passion wanes, I lose interest and fail to show up. Or I get distracted with life’s demands. Then it’s time to re-examine what I really want, and make that a priority once again to “show up”. The benefits of the practice itself carry me through to mastery. I enjoy the quiet centeredness of qigong; I’m delighted with the energy I receive from physical workouts; I am rejuvenated from being in the creative zone. Sure, I would like to perfect my watercolor expression; however, the journey/practice itself is gratifying and energizing. Staying in the moment, focused on showing up for the practice, in incremental steps, eventually leads me to outcomes of mastery that initially seemed daunting.
What is important to integrate into your life in a consistent practice? What is it you desire mastery in? Leonard tells us: “Consistency of practice is the mark of the master.”
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