Why would anyone want to be perfect at something? Aside from the social pressure and envy of onlookers, it implies that you have reached a plateau. And when you’ve encased yourself in mastery, it implies that there is no more room for improvement. You’ve reached the end of your journey. You’ve become a guru…and in honor of my old English friends…Bollocks!
How we approach practice needs have form and be formless at the same time. Shooting a basketball, running a mile, playing the piano, eating a bagel (eating and dieting can be a practice), and loving your partner are all practices that utilize a degree of your consciousness and developed habits/patterns that develop these activities into personal passions and hone your skills. These practices become the truest expressions of ourselves and while you may have goals and milestones, you never want to establish boundaries on your progress.
Someone’s seemingly amazing skill and awe-inspiring talent may seem completely fundamental to another person in the same practice. However we decide to look at talent, progress can be scalable, and it is more often than not, the result of deliberate daily practice (and hours of it at that).
But try not to make it too quantitative OR qualitative. Engage in your practices as though they were part of your soul. It’s great to write out your goals on a piece of paper and make daily advances towards them but when you are engaged in the act of your practice, lose yourself sometimes and allow yourself to feel like a kid again. It’s during these moments when prodigies and “masters” look backward and say, “What? I’ve been doing this all along.”