“….experts are always made, not born.”

In a July 2007 Harvard Business Review essay titled “The Making of an Expert”, Anders Ericsson, Michael Prietula and Edward Cokely cite research that demonstrates “Consistently and overwhelmingly………that experts are always made, not born.” i find this a liberating message.

Pointing out that “The journey to truly superior performance is neither for the faint of heart nor for the impatient,” the authors observe that “The development of genuine expertise requires struggle, sacrifice, and honest, often painful self-assessment. There are no shortcuts.”

The most significant element in developing expertise, the authors tells us, is “the amount and quality of practice.”

In “The Freedom of Emptiness”, an essay from Mingyur Rinpoche that is characteristically simple and illuminating, we read that after the Prince Siddhartha left home in search of Meaning, “He received instruction in an array of spiritual traditions, from some of the most illustrious philosophers and meditation teachers of the time. A profoundly gifted student, he swiftly completed these various paths, and in some cases, he exceeded the teachers themselves. None of it, however, provided the kind of answers he was longing for.”

He then “arrived at the conclusion that learning about meditation, no matter how sophisticated the education, wasn’t enough — he should really buckle down and focus on actually practicing.”

Indeed, as Karen Armstrong writes in “Buddha”, he later used the term “kusala” with reference to the traits and states that make for “wholesome” living — indicating to his disciples that these are “skills” that one cultivates with practise. What matters is the practise.

Peace Pilgrim gifts us this gem (“Peace Pilgrim: Her Life and Work in Her Own Words”): “The key word for our time is practice. We have all the light we need, we just need to put it into practice.”

Peace 😊

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