Many holes, no water: the pursuit of mastery

I’ve always had this feeling that I’ve never gone quite deep enough with anything to consider myself skilled at it.  The term ‘mastery’ floats around in education and self-development circles.  It simply means proficiency, but all too often I read it in terms of superiority or domination and for that reason I don’t like it all that much, but for this post it serves a purpose, so I’ll stick with it.

There are lots of things I ‘do,’ but I wouldn’t say I’ve mastered any of them. At times I wonder if I’m not just wildly inconsistent; too many fingers in too many pies, too many hats to wear. 

The Buddha said that if you want to strike water you don’t dig six one-foot wells, you dig one six-foot well.  My problem is I’ve got one-foot wells all over the place, and even more on the list to start digging!

Even in my writing there are many half-dug holes.  I blog about different topics, I write rhymes and the occasional short story and lately I’ve been trying my hand at limericks.  Perhaps I should concentrate on one type of writing to achieve the elusive mastery?

Not long ago I got quite good at high intensity interval training and sustained this for some years, but lately I feel an inexplicable pull towards Pilates and the HIIT workouts have trailed off, just when I got good at something!

The problem is, there are so many things to try.

But in searching for more information about mastery I came across this quote:

“Calmness is mastery. You have to get to a point where your mood doesn’t shift based on the insignificant actions of someone else.”

Morgan Freeman

Lightbulb! It occurred to me that in so many of the things I ‘do:’ writing, journaling, meditation, self-refection,  I am working towards mastery of something: myself. It’s not a skill I can showcase at a variety show or write on my resume (though perhaps one day it will be), but if I keep working at it, maybe there’s a chance it will make the world a slightly better place.

This seems like a pretty good place to pitch my flag, roll up my sleeves and aim for water.  If I’m still blogging close to the end of this wonderful life I’ll let you know how deep I got.

How about you, lovely people?  What holes are you digging?

Photo by Camila Totti on

One can have no smaller or greater mastery than the mastery of oneself.

Leonardo Di Vinci

Hello lovely readers, it feels so good to be back with a blog post,. If you’ve taken the time to read this then thank you for sticking around and bearing with me. It turns out there are only so many holes a woman can dig, but this blog is one I want to keep shovelling away at. As always, if you enjoyed this post and you haven’t already subscribed please consider doing so. I never spam because I’m not wasting any time down that hole. You can also find me on Facebook and Instagram. What do you think of my festive avatar? My daughter made it up for me. I wasn’t sure how I felt having a digital ‘me’ given some of my reservations about the encroachment of technology, but it’s growing on me.

13 thoughts on “Many holes, no water: the pursuit of mastery

  1. Maybe, but sometimes one singular focus narrows down and though that can be positive or not, perhaps it is no mean feat to be spread widely in activities so that corporately they assume one well.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You’re talking about what I’ve been wrestling with lately. I dislike the term ‘mastery’ because it makes you sound like a pedantic twit, yet I realize I am proficient in some things. I want to respect myself, but don’t want to shout about my skills from the rooftops. I like the Freeman quote. It rings true with me and I must remember it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You hit the nail on the about mastery Ally 🤣 But yes you should own the things you’re good at, but humbly…such a tightrope we have to walk to avoid the trappings of being a pedantic twit 😉 I like the Freeman quote too, it seems he’s well cast as the wise man he so often plays.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I think the happiest people are the least specialised.

    Without meaning to be morbid, it’s one of those death bed regret moments: will we wish to have done the one thing we did, better or to have tried lots of things we didn’t do? I’m sure the world won’t care either way; it’s down to our own happiness in reflection. 🙂

    I like the avatar! How was it done?

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re not being morbid at all, or if you are I’m right there with you (I do occasionally try to imagine myself on my death bed in order to find out if my dying self would approve of the direction I’m heading). But yes you’re right, it’s all down to how we frame it, how we think a born things is the key to happiness.

      As for the avatar, I think she put it together using Snapchat but don’t quote me, she’s a whizz with so many things I don’t understand!

      Liked by 1 person

    • You’re more than welcome Matt, it’s great to hear you enjoyed the post.

      I read a great line in the book ‘All the light we cannot see’ the other day which set my cogs turning. A scientist who specialises in one area is comparing herself to a fellow scientist who doesn’t:

      “He flitted from lab to lab with a prodigious curiosity but little perseverance. He loved ocean currents and architecture and Charles Dickens, and his variousness made her feel limited, overspecialised.”

      This line resonated because I guess it’s our tendency to always compare ourselves to what we are not, but whether we’re dabbling or going deep, if there’s joy in the discovering then maybe that’s the point?


      • Yes! Full-heartedly agree. I’ll have to read that book. I just read his other one, “Cloud Cuckoo Land,” and have to admit, found that one difficult to bite into. Heard great things about All the Light We Cannot See though!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I haven’t read that one.

        All the light we cannot see was tough in places (WW2 stuff always makes me sad) but beautifully written and ultimately thought provoking, plus very short chapters which left me always wanting to read just one more!

        Liked by 1 person

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