This ends the series about the Dabbler, the Obsessive, and the Hacker. Rather than try and summarise a glorious book which you should buy and read, I thought I'd end this series with personal activity.
Pick one thing in your life where you currently play one of these 3 types and would like to instead switch from the path of being a student to the path of Mastery.
a powerful lens
The lens of looking at things I do via these 3 persona types is a powerful tool, personally. I was able to look across many years and episodes and learn a lot more about my failures. Why did something not go well or why did I not achieve what I set out to achieve? From my failed diets and attempts at getting fit in my early 20s, to failed projects that I've worked on. I was also able to understand better why I succeeded in places where I previously thought it was attributed to a lot of luck.
Equally importantly, can I shine this lens at myself currently? And see where I am using the wrong persona for the job? And can I pick one thing, to begin with, where I'd like to switch up the persona? Well, the answer was pretty obvious.
here's my thing
Writing - I am a hack. And that's something I'd like to change. I'd like to communicate my ideas better and work on my writing and editing skills. Plus, whatever zillion things go into writing that I have no idea about. I've found putting my ideas on (digital) paper over the past few months to be tremendously useful and I don't think a hacker is a right persona for this particular endeavour of mine.
wax on, wax off
I am not going to stop with this one thing, as that's not the point. Any place where I am doing a rushed job, where I am phoning it in, where I can do lesser but better - all of these are places to look into. Any place where I'd like improved results - at work as a leader, as a coach, or as a husband, or a friend - what I learned was to shift the mindset. It is obviously a work in progress and it will be for a long time to come and that's something I am looking forward to. The following excerpt, which I will end this article with, brought about this realisation in a beautiful way. As a kid, I didn't learn anything from wax-on-wax-off. But maybe, now I can.
Take dishwashing, for example. You can perform that chore in a hurried and haphazard way, with your main goal being to get it behind you as quickly as possible. Or you can do it as a meditation, a dance.
Go for efficiency, elegance, and grace in your motions; avoid hasty shortcuts. Rather than thinking about getting the job finished and going on to something else, stay wholly focused on the moment, on the task at hand. Above all, don't hurry.
Life is filled with opportunities for practicing the inexorable, unhurried rhythm of mastery, which focuses on process rather than product, yet which, paradoxically, often ends up creating more and better products in a shorter time than does the hurried, excessively goal-oriented rhythm that has become standard in our society. Making this rhythm habitual takes practice.
There are no shortcuts. The successful path to mastering anything is to practice for the sake of it, to enjoy it, and enjoy being on a plateau.