Let’s say you take up tennis – a game that you never played before. You buy the racket, the clothes, join a league and begin to play – what happens? Very quickly you go from not knowing how to hold the racquet, how to hit the ball, or how to keep score (a 0 out of 100) up to understanding the game and the ability to play through a match (let’s say you are now at a 30 out of 100).

This move from 0 to 30 seems like a huge move and actually is.  Once you hit your stride, something begins to happen – you begin to flatten out. You can’t seem to get better no matter what you do. In fact, you may even begin to get a little worse.

What most people will do at this point is confess, “Tennis must not be for me,” and they may move on to something new.

What do you dabble in? Is it a number of ideas that you have that only become 30% complete? Do you have every sports outfit – every club, racquet, ski, helmet, etc?

Ask yourself:  Do you find yourself moving on to something new when times get tough?  This is the pattern of a Dabbler.

There are two secrets I found that can help you break out of this pattern. Ironically, the secrets come from some of MY Masters.

When a Dabbler starts something, they become surprised when they grow with such leaps and bounds – yet also get shocked as to why they are not continuing to excel.


Learn to anticipate instead of reacting.

KNOW that you will excel at the beginning. KNOW that challenges will be coming. The Master knows when he first begins that he will plateau – or even regress. The Master knows that this is the point where breakthroughs happen.

Your first encounter with the plateau, and what you do when you get there, is what shapes all of society. Why do we live in a time of so much opportunity – more than ever – yet so many people quit? When you hear stories of some of the most successful people on the planet, they ALL have weathered a storm – sometimes a couple of storms.


Befriend the Master.

The one thing a Master does is finds someone who has already achieved greatness, and they learn from them. So let’s say you are playing tennis again, you have broken through your first plateau, and are beating everyone around you.

The Master leaves the group of people that he beats all of the time, to find a new group of players that are all better than her.

The Master does not get comfortable in winning all of the time and begins to get comfortable in losing.

The Master knows that his/her goal is to become the Master, and knows that having the right peer group, or mentor will pull him/her up to the next level.


What would Mr. Miyagi say to you as you were learning to become a Martial Arts Master?

He would have you continuing on, no matter how much pain you may have, and he would make you “spar” with anyone and everyone who is better than you.

Stay strong and focused, anticipate, and find a mentor in what every field you want to Master.

Blog post by Mark Baratto.

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