“Do not talk about giftedness, inborn talents! One can name great men of all kinds who were very little gifted.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
A principle of adult learning is that adults will only learn what they feel they need to learn (source). A choice then follows that we also select the depth of knowledge and understanding. These are important choices to make since time is a precious resource. We live in an age of information and activity overload and so our choices need to be strategic. For me, that means being guided by our Purpose and Goals.
One way to think of skill levels (depth) is as follows: advanced (can train others), proficient (can accomplish easily), learning (some assistance required) and basic (knows the concepts). Most of the time, self-assessment is sufficient in gauging progress but important learning, and especially advanced learning, should be validated by demonstration criteria and assessed by an expert or master.
Mastery includes the ability to explain, interpret, apply and innovate. It results from long-term commitment, self-discipline, experimentation, practice and passion. The outcome is simplification, proficiency and innovation.
Our learning choices might be narrow or broad. Thinking about parenting as a skill, we might be masters of positive discipline or coaching (both arguably narrow) or fatherhood (very broad). In a career context, we might be excellent presenters (narrow) or teachers or marketers (both broad). Mastery can be a choice in our lives in many ways, e.g. sports, art, hobbies, work, volunteer roles and more.
Where do you choose mastery in your life? How do you choose it?