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While I was in the US for the holiday season I had a chance to read a couple of books. One of them I found particularly interesting, but never got around to writing about it. Since the focus will be on Getting Fit in 30 Days, I am writing it now.

First off, in a world of instant checkout, drive-thrus, and get rich quick schemes, a book about lifelong devotion is a bit of a rarity. We all want the quick and short method to getting the things we want. In the book Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfillment, George Leonard makes the argument that not only does it take time, practice, and hard work to become a master, but that one will be much happier if they view life in this manner.

Leonard explains that when we learn something in the beginning everything is new and we tend to make a lot of progress. Then it all slows down and things become more difficult. The the next step is further than the last and more difficult to obtain. As we stop seeing results, we start to lose confidence and this is when many people give up.

He says that instead we should look at what ever we are trying to achieve as long term. That the doing and learning is more important than the final results (which will be obtained anyways). Then the long flat plateaus in between the climbs of progress, as he describes it, are enjoyable because we are focused on improving each part of what we do.

Being a martial artists myself, I understand the theory behind this and actually agree with Leonard. By viewing life this way, we have the chance to live in the moment. Whether you are playing your favorite game or are mowing the lawn, you are focused on trying to improve and do the best possible job you can. When we focus on only the end and the result (especially when it is something we don’t want to do), then we spend most of our lives looking towards the future and not really living for now.

I believe this is something that is quite difficult to do. Society encourages us to focus on finishing the task rather than doing the task. I have met only a few people who actually live this way.

The one that sticks out the most in my mind is Mr. Kawachi Kunihira, a swordsmith in Japan. I first met Kunihira when he visited the California for an honorary sword making exhibition and later had a chance to visit him in his house in Japan. He was an absolutely amazing character. Even though he was in his 60’s he had an amazing amount of energy and seemed to be fascinated by everything. Even after building swords for the majority of his life, he was absolutely fascinated by every aspect of them. As far as success, he is considered on of the top sword makers and utmost authorities on the subject in Japan. His work has been published in many journals as well as authored books.

In today’s busy world it is hard to slow down and enjoy all the things we are doing in our lives. As time seems to become more scarce this concept seems to become even harder to grasp. And maybe that is why it is even more important to try.

If you are looking for something to get you quick results, this is not the book. If you are looking for that might help make your life a little happier then it is definitely worth a read.