Thursday, October 28, 2010

Mastery - The Master's Journey

Meet the Dabbler, the Obsessive, and the Hacker.

The Dabbler

The Dabbler approaches each new sport, career opportunity, or relationships with enormous enthusiasm. He or she loves the rituals involved in getting started, the spiffy equipment, the lingo, the shine of newness.

When he makes his first squirt of progress in a new sport for example, the Dabbler is overjoyed. He demonstrates his form to family, friends, and people he meets on the street. He can't wait for the next lesson. The fall off from his first peak comes as a shock. The plateau that follows is unacceptable if not incomprehensible. His enthusiasm quickly wanes. He starts missing lessons. His mind fills up with rationalizations. This really isn't the right sport for him. It's too competitive,  noncompetitive, aggressive, boring, dangerous, whatever. He tells everyone that it just doesn't fulfill his unique needs. Starting another sport gives the Dabbler a chance to replay the scenario of starting up. Maybe he'll make it to the second plateau this time, maybe not. Then it's on to something else.

The same thing applies to a career. The Dabbler loves new jobs, new offices, new colleagues. He sees opportunities at every turn. He salivates over projected earnings. He delights in signs of progress, each of which reports to his family and friends. uh oh, there's that plateau again. Maybe this job isn't right for him after all. It's time to start looking around. The Dabbler has a long resume.

In love relationships (perhaps an unexpected place to look for the signs of mastery, but a good one), the Dabbler specializes in honeymoons. He revels in seduction and surrender, the telling of life stories, the display of love's tricks and trappings: the ego on parade. Then the initial ardor starts to cool, he starts looking around. To stay on the path of mastery would mean changing himself. How much easier it is to jump into another bed and start the process all over again. The Dabbler might think of himself as an adventurer, a connoisseur of novelty, but he's probably closer to being what Carl Jung calls the puer aeternus, the eternal kid. Though partners change, he or she stays just the same.

- Mastery, George Leonard 

* This book I am reading is homework for a retreat am going for this weekend. Interesting read I must say but more than anything else, I'm just looking forward to playing the Samurai game !

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