Saturday, August 20, 2011

Mastery: a difficult path

Pink put it best when he described Mastery, "As wonderful as flow is, the path to mastery-becoming ever better at something you care about-is not lined with daisies and spanned by a rainbow. If it were, more of us would make the trip. Mastery hurts." (pg. 124)

This is easily quite identifiable by many painters, musicians, architects, and the list goes on. To master something is to be familiar with every aspect of your job or skill. Even this is difficult to do and Pink also wrote it best when he said it takes at least a decade to actually master something if one was arduous at it. In other such cases it may take longer An example of such can be shown when Lars Ulrich, the drummer of Metallica, admits to having not mastered his skill in an interview by saying, "I suck," in a magazine. Keep in mind that he has been playing with Metallica for more than several decades and playing drums even longer. This shows how much hard is to actually master a skill. Even then, it is difficult to say if one has mastered a skill because there is still so much to learn about that skill. Just like the old saying goes, "The more you know, the less you know."

(In my project, it is best to keep my students from believing they are going to master their instrument within the year. If they gain this type of thinking, they may believe they may take it easy and never actually try. With this said, it is best to keep them from thinking they are going to be top-notched, A grade, or five star drummers.)


  1. I think that we can always get to perform and do something well, master it? Hmm, maybe not quite so. Daniel H. Pink explains that mastery is an asymptote, meaning we would always be so close to being able to master it, but we will never be quite there. "[We'll] never get it. It will always hover beyond [our] grasp" (126). Nevertheless, I agree with you, you shall not tell your students that they're going to be able to master the instrument, for they are not. Do tell them why is that, for they might be confused and say that they practice quite often. Encourage them, and tell them that if they put enough effort, they can surpass the teacher (you), but time shall tell.

  2. I agree with Pink, Master is unattainable. So, what's the point of attempting to grasp it. All that is brought from this is sadness and disappointment. I'd like to think it's good not give your students hope of mastery but what are they aiming for? What is present to motivate them to do something? How would you react if someone told you, "I know that you cannot accomplish task A; however, I want you to attempt it"? Personally, I wouldn't even give it my all. There's no point in thinking of mastery as unattainable. It is the least motivating thing.