I have found his insight has a direct correlation to my own experience with photography. Take a look at the graph below:
Leonard argues that the path of mastery is not linear or as smooth a sloping process as one might think.
If you take a look at the above graph you'll notice that the path to mastery is full of exponential growth, slow downs and flat out plateaus.
Its human nature to become addicted to the exponential growth part of the learning, we're just progress orientated creatures. I remember some of these phases of my life as rapid acceleration of skill where I was pumping out beautiful photo after beautiful photo, adapting new lighting techniques faster than my school could teach them. Later there were phases where the phone wouldn't stop ringing, client after client calling as if the universe had opened a wormhole of abundance into my career and life.
...and then there were the plateaus; boredom, doubt, getting tired of the same one light setups, thinking if I had to shoot one more headshot portfolio I would die. Seeing other successful photographers do work that I wanted to be doing but having no idea how to get there...and of course the droughts that had me wondering how I was going to pay next months rent.
What I didn't realize at the time was that the plateaus are actually a germination period for the next quantum leap. In every one of those 'boring' headshot shoots was a burgeoning seed of my next 'a-ha' moment.
The plateaus are pure potentiality, the exciting growth we experience is the manifestation of that potential.
To preserve your sanity, inspiration and faith during the 'plateau' times takes Herculean effort, simply because around this time everything will start to conspire to create doubt around your passion. This is simply the way the universe tests us and it is the reason why there are far few masters than there are hacks. The truth is simple: Most people will give up.
Take another look at the Mastery curve and know that you are on it somewhere; whether you're a photographer, parent, writer or astrophysicist. Some parts are fun, some are not but whatever your position, know that mastery of your craft is not a destination but a commitment to a life long learning process.
Commit to Mastery.