Infintite Jest

This is pulled from the novel by David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest. While it is specifically discussing the mastery of tennis, I feel that the theory has a broad scope:

“…that because you proceed toward mastery through a series of plateaus, so there’s like radical improvement up to a certain plateau and tehn what looks like a stall, on the plateau, with the only way to get off one of the plateaus and climb up to the next one up ahead is with a whole lot of frustrating mindless repetitive practice and patience and hanging in there…”

“…the types who don’t hang in there and slog on the patient road toward mastery are basically three. Types. You’ve got what he calls your Despairing type, who’s fine as long as he’s in the quick-improvement stage before a plateau, bu then he hits a plateau and sees himself stall, not getting better as fast or even seeming to get a little worse, and this type gives in to frustration and despair, because he hasn’t got the humbleness and patience to hang in there and slog, and he can’t stand the time he has to put in on the plateau, and what happens?’

‘Geronimo! the other kids yell…

‘Then we have got the Obsessive type…much less humble and slog, when he gets to a plateau he tries to like will and force himself off it, by sheer force of work and drill and will and practice and drilling and obsessively honing and working more and more, as in frantically, and he overdoes it and gets hurt and pretty soon he’s chronically messed up with injuries…’

‘You’ve got the complacent type, who improves radically until he hits and plateau, and is content with the radical improvement he’s made to get to the plateau, and doesn’t mind staying at the plateau because it is comfortable and familiar…(p115)

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