I'm Germi

On mastery

"You'll master a thing after 10.000 hours practice".

That's the mantra I grew up with. That's exactly what my heroes were saying when I got started in design.

And I tried to follow it of course.

After 4 years working and practicing my craft in auto-pilot I asked myself for the first time "What happens after those 10k hours? Am I done learning? Will I become an expert forever?"

I obviously knew that was not the case. But having that thought was determining my acts.

I was working and living for the mastery.

But then I came across Yvon Chouinard's idea of being an "80 percenter" which means: do something until you're 80% good, and then move onto something new.

Why? Because anyone can reach that 80%. But working around that missing 20% is extremely hard, and that's what takes you to a mastery level.

Being an 80 percenter means:

  • You never stop learning, because there's still a gap (a very hard one) for you to keep moving forward
  • You start combining a few 80 percenter skills to solve problems in a much more complex and complete way
  • Enjoying. Going back to Yvon, the guy is over 80 and he spends most of his days in his shop doing the same things he's been doing for the past 50 years: adding more 80 percenters to his life.

A good way to look at this is Tim Ferriss’ idea on being a "Specialized Generalist" over a generalist or a specialist.

Do I mean by this that a specialist won't thrive? Of course she will.

I'd rather pick a bucket in life where I can take with me a bunch of these 80 percenter skills and thrive in a much more fun, meaningful and infinite way.

Iterations will never stop.


5 months ago

Juan Germano