April 23, 2014

Being Different, Part 7: The Plain of Mastery

In Part 6 of this series, I described how one becomes a true master of a skill — by putting in around 10,000 hours (or nearly five years of full-time work) using that skill. Obviously, few of us ever achieve this, so if you have reached the 10,000 Hour Crest for any given skill you can count yourself among the few masters of it.

And that is also when you find yourself on the Plain of Mastery. Far, far, from the Plain of Suckitude, here is where you can rest in the knowledge that there are few who can match your mastery. Can you still improve? Probably, in minor kinds of ways. Do you need to? That’s up to you. The point is you don’t have to.

The countryside stretches before you, flat as a pancake. There are no hills, no obstacles, nothing to impede your enjoyment of the skill you have finally mastered. Enjoy it.

Next Up: Being Different, Part 8: A Summary of the Topography of Skill Acquisition

Photo by Michael Theis, Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic License.

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Roy Tennant About Roy Tennant

Roy Tennant is a Senior Program Officer for OCLC Research. He is the owner of the Web4Lib and XML4Lib electronic discussions, and the creator and editor of Current Cites, a current awareness newsletter published every month since 1990. His books include "Technology in Libraries: Essays in Honor of Anne Grodzins Lipow" (2008), "Managing the Digital Library" (2004), "XML in Libraries" (2002), "Practical HTML: A Self-Paced Tutorial" (1996), and "Crossing the Internet Threshold: An Instructional Handbook" (1993). Roy wrote a monthly column on digital libraries for Library Journal for a decade and has written numerous articles in other professional journals. In 2003, he received the American Library Association's LITA/Library Hi Tech Award for Excellence in Communication for Continuing Education. Follow him on Twitter @rtennant.

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