A Road To Mastery
There is a way for a novice to become an expert.
There is a way for an apprentice to become a master.
There is a way for all of us to be great at any field or discipline.
Learning new information, the most up-to-date information, is indispensable. Putting in lots of time and attention to practice is another non-negotiable aspect of mastery. But there is one more critical factor. That is, evaluating how you are learning and practicing.
Metacognition is basically thinking about thinking. As you are learning new skills, you need to think about what you are learning. Keep interacting with yourself and with the new information. Keep asking questions to the instructor. Apply the information immediately so that it becomes useful to you. You need to see how the new information you learned works in real life. What works and what doesn’t work? How would you teach it to others? Constantly think about what you learned.
In addition, you need to think about how you are practicing. Sure! Practice makes perfect. But, once you engage in practice for a while, you tend to become complacent. You just go through the motions. You can do it in your sleep. That is, the skill is in your subconscious level. But you need to keep bringing your practice to the conscious level and intentionally think about how you are practicing. How’s your form look like? How’s the whole process look like? Unless you deliberately think about how your practice is going, you won’t improve after a certain point.
The key to mastery is learning and practicing and then evaluating your learning and practicing. You might be able to learn by yourself and even practice by yourself. However, it’s quite hard to evaluate by yourself. You might need a coach to guide you along the evaluation process. You need more than just an accountability partner. You need a guide. You need a cheerleader. You need a teacher. You need a mentor. Every master once had a master of his own.