Mastery

I've been reading George Leonard's book, Mastery after seeing it recommended by fellow blogger Nicholas Bate. The book has been a real eye-opener in terms of the difference between what I perceived mastery to be and what mastery is.

I like this highlight from the book explains what mastery is:

The people we know as masters don't devote themselves to their skill just to get better at it. The truth is, they love to practice — and because of this they do get better at it.

Take my own career for example, the web developer. I've tried so many times in the past to pick up different languages and experiment with other frameworks, but each time I've rarely got passed the basic steps of a simple application. It's all well and good learning something new, but have I gained the level of knowledge and experience that I should have as a web developer before moving onto mastering other languages and frameworks?

I'll be honest, no. In no area of the stack of tools and technology that a typical web developer uses have I amassed a level of familiarity and knowledge that a master of web developer would have. Am I knowledgable and confident with these tools? Yes, but there's still places where I can improve.

So I'm changing focus. Gone are the plans to try out different languages and frameworks and in are the day to day practicing of the tools that I need to make a living. A relational database (PostgreSQL), a dynamic language (Ruby), a web framework (Ruby on Rails), and there's JavaScript, HTML and CSS. Not only that but there are also skills that I use daily like agile practices and writing that need work. I don't need to master all of these but I am going to focus on a handful over the rest of the year.

I love writing software, but rather than focusing on practicing other languages and frameworks as possibilities for future work, I should focus on practicing with the development tools I enjoy using now. Ruby on Rails has been around for ten years, who's to say it won't be around for another ten years.

And thanks for the book recommendation NB!