Random Thoughts: Mastery

Jiro Ono has been making sushi for over 70 years. The documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi gives a glimpse into the mind of the man behind Sukiyabashi Jiro, the three Michellin Star 10-seat counter restaurant in Tokyo. The Japanese has a fascinating philosophy, shokunin which refers to artisans/craftsmen who is solely devoted to perfection in their chosen craft. Jiro falls within this. At 85 years old (when the documentary came out about three years ago), he was still on this quest for perfection by improving every day, bit by bit.


I’ve always been fascinated by this devotion to craft. While I have explored multiple areas, perhaps not always to their conclusion, I try to at least delve beyond the surface of what I am working on. The intention has been to become a better writer in a variety of genres which requires me, when focused on one type, to try and get into the nuances of the craft of that form, whether it is poetry, music writing, magazine writing, scripting writing or songwriting. This requires reading, learning, trying – repeatedly.

Will Durant wrote, in exploring the ideas of Greek philosopher, Aristotle, “Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”

We aren’t all going to be like Jiro but, in a time when we gloss over everything, a time when we operate as ‘slashies’ or the proverbial ‘jack of all trades’, there is still merit in working on mastery in our chosen path. We have access to more knowledge and information than our species ever had. Now would be a good time to use it. Just a thought.

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