Watching the masters at work

The greatest education in the world is watching the masters at work. – Michael Jackson

I work on the VaultPress team and just finished trying to clear out a very hacked site. One of my favorite parts of the job has been diving into the security side of things purely because some of the hacks can be so creative and brilliant.

Our team had a meetup in New Zealand. While there, we did an pair programming exercise to try to create the Game of Life. At one point, I was paired up with my team lead. Watching him work was incredibly mesmerizing as I think he literally was typing lines of code throughout the entirety of the 45 minute block we had to do the exercise. Even with rules and restrictions in place to try to make the exercise harder, he still proceeded to come up with solutions. I don’t think I realized it at the time (probably because my brain was so fried) but I was watching a master at work.

This past week I’ve been able to be witness masters at work: Andrea Bocelli, Homare Sawa, Abby Wambach. I’ve been a witness to masters of the past like Giovanni Bellini through work featured at museums in Vancouver. It’s unusual that I would be able to experience so many different masters of so many different fields (sport, art, music, tech) all in a span of a week. As Michael Jackson said, it’s the greatest education in the world and, in my mind, one of the most inspiring.

I’ve been trying to run more and being able to witness World Cup games has lit a fire in me. I’ve been tracking my timing over 2.5 miles and 1.5 mile runs and just in a span of this week have blown past my previous times. I don’t think it’s a mistake that this has happened this week when I’ve been able to witness the things I have.

It’s so important to go out of your way to see masters at work. Whether it’s asking a teammate at work for help because they are the best in their field or purchasing a last minute ticket to go to a concert, it’s worth it. The hours put in by these individuals while hard to comprehend are easy to recognize. Beyond just being easy to recognize, they need to be recognized and witnessed. Their acts are what pull us forward and lets us think in new ways about what’s possible. It’s like the story of the 4 minute mile: once people knew it could be done more people reached the same accomplishment. Help yourself by exposing yourself to those accomplishments and the masters behind them – they may in turn help you reach your very own level of mastery.


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