What Mastery Feels Like


Last night my lovely bride and I snuck out to the movies at Cleveland’s old Capitol Theater. Screen 1 showed a preview of the colossal whiz-bang new Avengers movie (we weren’t invited, naturally).

Screen 2, however, showed a movie about a real person with actual superpowers. His name is Jiro Ono, and he’s built himself into the best sushi chef on the planet (click the trailer above for a taste).

It’s a terrific, up-close portrait of the power of daily practice. Jiro, who’s 85, talks about how much more he has to learn. And the culture they’ve built inside this tiny shop — a culture of attentiveness, precision, and reaching — should be the envy of any organization or team. At one point, a chef tells of learning to make a difficult egg sushi. On the 200th try, he did it, and he wept with joy.

The takeaway wasn’t about the discipline; it was about the love that fueled the process. As author Jonah Lehrer recently put it, “love is just another name for “it never gets old.”

Inside Jiro’s shop, it never gets old.  (Avengers, eat your hearts out!)