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Thread: Mastery

  1. #1
    schlemiel Faust's Avatar
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    Mastery

    I return to this idea every now and then. Much as I'm fickle and detached from my interests, I believe a single obsession as a focus for constant improvement could be a healthy 'anchor' of sorts. I have none, really, and wonder if anyone here fancies themselves a lifelong student of some art, craft or game. What draws you in?

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    Senior Member Starjots's Avatar
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    <3 gator's Avatar
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    I waffle between wanting to achieve mastery and a desire for novelty. When it comes down to it, mastery is hard. It takes a sustained effort over a long period of time. I really admire the people who are able to do that and the results they achieve, but I don't think I'm one of those people.

    I think there's benefit in being a generalist. Maybe it comes down to my super conservative upbringing, but I find the idea of specializing a little frightening, what with the unpredictability of the job market. What if I get really good at doing something that no one wants to pay for? I'm uncomfortable with the idea of directing all my efforts into one pursuit for that reason. In my mind, that way lies starvation.

    That said, I've often looked at all of the things that I do and thought that if I could pare down the number and focus more I would probably be a lot better off.

  4. #4
    dormant jigglypuff's Avatar
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    i'll always be drawn to the concept. i cared most about it when i was 17 and sorta had control issues, though. i idolized a few artists and wanted to be a "master draftsman" just like them. at the time my shtick was making photorealistic graphite / color pencil drawings of glass objects... that was my high school AP art concentration project, and i received the highest score.

  5. #5
    Member Chaselation's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gator View Post
    Maybe it comes down to my super conservative upbringing, but I find the idea of specializing a little frightening, what with the unpredictability of the job market. What if I get really good at doing something that no one wants to pay for? I'm uncomfortable with the idea of directing all my efforts into one pursuit for that reason. In my mind, that way lies starvation.

    That said, I've often looked at all of the things that I do and thought that if I could pare down the number and focus more I would probably be a lot better off.
    There are specialties that are going to have long legs. Tech, internet that I was very good at, enjoyed (still enjoy) that I didn't stick too. So for me at least there are excuses without explanation. The line in the INTP descriptions that you could master something and so you have (paraphrasing) has a part to play.

  6. #6
    non-canonical Light Leak's Avatar
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    The only thing I can think of for me is Photoshop, although I'm not sure I can really call it a passion or obsession. I was really into it at first, but now it's just a thing I do. I'm good at it and I don't have the same level of skill in anything else so I just keep doing it.

    Quote Originally Posted by gator View Post
    What if I get really good at doing something that no one wants to pay for?
    I have this fear too. I'm afraid my job will someday be replaced by a computer. There's already software that does auto retouching. It doesn't do more complex stuff just yet, but what if it does someday and I'm left with no marketable skills.

    I keep thinking I should learn some new skills, but I can't find anything I'm really all that interested in.

  7. #7
    In it to win it 99Problems's Avatar
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    I don't want to be so bold as to call myself a master at it, yet, but I am getting pretty good at designing stuff, visually at least. That is probably a good anchor for me considering my range of interests.

    The problem with mastery in general is paying them dues, years and freakin years of dedication.

  8. #8
    was here.. ~h4ct6al~'s Avatar
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    I'm slightly better than mediocre at most of my skills, but I have thousands of them. Each one is connected the other in my brainmeat in a synergistic way allows me to come up with weird solutions. New things are learned easily because that synergy results in an a powerful intuition.

    I can snap up a new concept with a few words. ie when I was learning how to drive a stickshift. That morning, I couldn't; that afternoon, I could. When my mother told me to let the clutch out slowly I understood it was analog, not digital, and Bob's-Your-Uncle, I could drive.

    Given enough time and motivation, I could make a computer do anything but that ability springs from knowing a few facts, not from mastery obtained by experience. I'm not good at math so if in coding something I need to know why my formula is doing, I'll write a subroutine that makes a visual representation for me. I understand the concepts of calculus, but I've never used them with actual numbers. I have, however, solved unrelated problems directly because I knew what fluxions were.

  9. #9
    In it to win it 99Problems's Avatar
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    That is the ticket to being capable at a lot of things, shit is analog. ^

  10. #10
    Aporia Dysphoria Dirac's Avatar
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    There's a problem of diminishing returns when it comes to mastery - the better you get, the harder it is to get any better. That's the main reason I tend to just switch around the whole time. I think if you could somehow quantify "ability" then a generalist would have more at death than a specialist would.

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