The journey to mastery is through complexity. Often voicing the KISS principle, “can’t we just keep it simple stupid”, Dabblers, obsessives and hackers bounce off complexity getting stuck in stupid simplicity this side of complexity, which can be the KISS of Death! Masters understand the nature of the journey and keep moving through complexity, to the other side and mastery of elegant simplicity which embeds complexity.
Here are some other great quotations:
- “Everything should be made as a simple as possible, and no simpler” (Einstein).
- “For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong” (H. L. Mencken)
- “Any idiot can simplify by ignoring the complications. But it takes real genius to simplify by including the complications”. (John E. Johnson)
… and from George Leonard in his 1992 book, “Mastery: The Keys to Success & Long Term Fulfillment”
- “Mastery: The mysterious process during which what is at first difficult becomes progressively easier and more pleasurable through practice. There is no way around it. Learning any new skill involves relatively brief spurts of progress, each of which is followed by a slight decline to a plateau somewhat higher in most cases than that which preceded it. The curve is necessarily idealized. In the actual learning experience, progress is less regular; the upward spurts vary; the plateaus have their own dips and rises along the way. But the general progression is almost always the same. To take the master’s journey you have to practice diligently, striving to hone your skills, to attain new levels of competence. But while doing so – and this is the inexorable fact of the journey – you also have to be willing to spend most of your time on a plateau, to keep practicing even when you seem to be getting nowhere. We all aspire to mastery, but the path is always long and sometimes rocky, and it promises no quick and easy payoffs. So we look for other paths, each of which attracts a certain type of person. Dabblers, Obsessives and Hackers go through life each in their own way, choosing not to take the master’s journey. The categories are obviously not quite this neat (you can be a Dabbler in one thing and a Master in another) but the basic patterns tend to prevail, both reflecting and shaping your performance, your character, your destiny”.