Monday, October 08, 2007

Why do masters take classes?

In the visual and performing arts, they are called master classes. In sports, they are called training camps. In both, performers who have already reached peaks strive to develop new skills and acquire new knowledge.

Academics is not much different: research grants and publications depend on the interaction of peers to monitor and encourage top performance. The point is not competition: the point is that everyone benefits from scrutiny and process. Top performers learn from one another and from the synergies created by their interactions.

Do you take your results as seriously as top performers in other fields take their results? Is your passion for improving deep and compelling? Are you energized by the thought of achieving something that is just beyond your reach now?

Getting better requires a commitment to working through confusion as you try new things and pay attention in new ways. It requires a guiding hope - something to which you aspire and which provides incentive. And it requires the perspective that comes from a proven process and an external point of view.

If you have hope and commitment, you have the right raw materials. You might be able to transform them working alone. It's more likely that you will transform them when you work with a master - a coach or guide whose process is proven to develop those raw materials.

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