Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Moving Towards Mastery: Seek Many Paths

In sports, in particular agility, it's common to work at problem solving from the viewpoint of efficiency and progress. Working through a series of obstacles should be practiced from all angles and all paths, easy to hard and back and forth. Doing this pushes you and your dog out of your comfort zone and ensures that if things go wrong in the ring, you have alternatives that have already been practiced. Sometimes, taking another path ends up being the better, faster path then normal handling would anticipate.

Moving through environments and moving through life are not dissimilar. Taking the known path, the path that looks the easiest, or the path that others seem to have taken, is not and never will be the best path. If you work through all the paths, finding the most profitable and most efficient over the long term, all paths become easier and your experience in practicing all possible path opens up additional possibilities.

Mastery is built on the greatest knowledge and skill possible. If all you do is follow the known path, the path laid out by others or the path you planned based on minimal experience, mastery of the skills needed will never happen. Mastery means thinking outside the box, having courage to question and learn new things about your chosen skills and not hesitating because you've worked on all possible scenarios. Mastery means you can think with your subject and change in a split second based on the developing conditions that occur because you are moving forward.

Handling mastery is earned with this kind of knowledge and practice.

There are six keys to acheiving success in most endeavors:
  • Passion
  • Education
  • Practice
  • Understanding Reality
  • Intent
  • Pushing the envelop
Mastery is:
  • A process of creating the ability to think with and manipulate the subject in new ways
  • Long-term dedication to the journey - not the bottom line
  • Gaining mental discipline to travel further on your journey
  • Having a plan and simple goals
  • Becoming the process and realizing the self reinforcing nature of it
  • Creating deep roots in knowledge and skill
  • Your commitment to hone your skills
  • Being willing to move from peak to peak and not getting bogged down in the vallys
  • Being willing to practice, even when you seem to be getting nowhere
  • Appreciating and even enjoying the plateau, as much as you do the progress
  • Practicing for the sake of practice
  • Winning graciously, and losing with equal grace
  • Placing practice, discipline, conditioning and character development before winning
  • Being courageous
  • Being fully in the present moment
  • Realizing that the ultimate goal is not the medal, or the ribbon, but the journey itself
  • Maintaining flexibility in your strategy, and in your actions
  • Determination

Become a master in every part of your life remembering always that moving to a prize is momentary and fleeting and that the true rewards are the journey and the doing.