My career in development started in 1983 at the ripe old age of 13. From the moment I touched a computer it was clear this was going to be a lifelong thing.  At the time I didn’t know why.

Thirty years later I think I’ve worked it out.

I’m on a quest for mastery.

It’s been a long journey, but I’ve enjoyed it.  I love the clarity of thought that comes as you hone in on mastery, a time when the machine becomes an extension of your thought and you arrive in a “flow” state that allows art to emerge freely. To arrive at this intense state of mind takes time and intense, unrelenting, practice.

How does one develop this aesthetic? Partially through schooling, but also through self discipline. In Japan, a concept known as Shokunin kishitsu (職人気質) is used to explain how one may arrive at mastery.

There are five pillars that must be given daily attention.

Majime (真面目). A true master is serious about the art.

Masters work hard. Dedication is required. A master rises early in the morning and finishes late at night. They make themselves subservient to the work which is their life’s purpose.

Kojoshin (向上心). Always aspire to improve oneself and one’s work.

Masters immerse themselves in study. They learn from other masters by listening carefully, applying what they are taught, and incorporating those lessons into their daily work. They want to be the best even though they understand that there can be no arriving at the ultimate destination.

Seiketsukan (清潔感). Cleanliness, freshness.

Masters do not accept messy work. They clear their minds to prepare a surface on which to work. Ideas which have grown stale are reworked into fresh new approaches.

Ganko (頑固). Stubbornness, obstinacy, impatience.

Masters do not accept defeat. They search for answers when others have given up.

Jyonetsu (情熱). Passion, enthusiasm.

Masters enjoy their work. It fulfills them like water after a hard run. Others around them are energised by their passion and drive. Masters lead through inspiration and manifest desire.

The path to mastery is a neverending climb up a steep mountain. You can never truly hope to arrive but the path upwards is its own reward.

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