My work is simply about a measured pursuit of MASTERY, through practice and repetition.


Having completed an initial 10000 hour scope of ‘apprenticeship’, I am working through a second of the same duration. My ongoing commitment is to seek and achieve periodic elements of MASTERY, as I continue the pathway I am travelling.


My methods of working have been greatly inspired through exploring the subject of MASTERY, especially having read a compelling book written by George Leonard.* The author is a practitioner of the martial art Aikido “the way of the spirit”, and writes of attaining ‘success’ through inner fulfilment.

Leonard argues that if we are to reach a level of MASTERY in any applied discipline, we need to learn to love repeated lengthy plateaus of pure practice, and identify “brief spurts of progress”, as he terms them, when they occur. On reflection, I prefer the term “brief spells of progress”, rather than “spurts”.

* I am indebted to Andrew Trimmer, artist and friend, for this insightful introduction.

Mastery, George Leonard

Mastery, George Leonard

The Striped Blouse by Edouard Vuillard


As I continue along my path through practice and repetition, I am increasingly ‘in tune’ with George Leonard’s philosophy on attaining MASTERY. There exists an ongoing realisation that repeated practice is not about achieving perfection. Repeated practice exists only in the present, and I am comfortable embracing long periods of activity, with seemingly no perceptible advancement.

In striving for excellence, I enjoy engaging with the process of repetition for its own sake: staying on the path, day after day, month after month, and acknowledging those small incremental steps [brief spells of progress] . . . never forced, and at times, not immediately recognised.


Having recorded all my time spent since undertaking the initial scope of 10000 hours, I have constructed a chart of my journey to date.

The hours traveling along the various plateaus of pure repeated practice have been established [one over 3400 hours in length!], and the intermittent brief spells of progress plotted. There have been eight “bsps” since January 2010, and these have occurred through internal as well as external sources. Through this ‘chart of progress’, I am able to literally display and update this journey of measured pursuit.

Richard Allen

MASTERY is not really a goal, or destination. It is a never-ending journey.
— George Leonard