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Jitti's Gym

The Long Road to Mastery

Jitti’s Gym

Jitti’s Gym, Bangkok Thailand | 1999

Bangkok has a web of backstreets to wander along and be led through by the camera. This is where I came across Jitti’s Gym, a Thai Boxing gym where I found European and North American fighters training alongside Thai locals. It’s a typical hot and humid day in the city and inside the gym the smell of sweat and the thud of punches and kicks in darkened spaces play out. The bruised equipment reflects the hundreds of fighters that have trained here over many years, keeping a tradition alive that’s embedded in Thailand’s national identity, and a growing a sport that’s spread throughout the world.

The Long Road to Mastery

Mastery, alongside autonomy and purpose, is one of the three essentials of Intrinsic Motivation. Professor Daniel Pink describes mastery as getting better and better at something that matters. Exactly what you’re aiming to master depends on what matters to you, for one person it maybe a martial art, for another it could be algorithms – yes, I hear they can be mastered – or for others it’s service orientated. Yet, regardless of what it is, the chances are your mastery mission is not an overnight journey, and so it has to matter to you, for you to be intrinsically motivated to stick with it.

A few questions to help you on your mastery mission:

  • What would you like to get better and better at?
  • Does it ‘light’ you up when you think about it? (If so, chances are it matters to you)
  • Does the long road to mastery ‘feel’ like a rich road? (Stickability)
  • How will it positively impact your life? (wider ecology)
  • Along with your bigger strategies, what does a daily tiny step look like? (Systems create mastery)

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