My perception on Personal Mastery one of "The Fifth Discipline" by Peter Senge

By:Soraya Fallah

Peter Senge deeply believes in discipline. He categorizes the features of discipline. He divides these categories into 5 disciplines in which result in a complete “learning discipline” process. He then connects these together to show a complete picture. One of these five disciplines which lead to the creation of a leader is personal mastery. I picture this process as a hand with five fingers and one of those fingers is “personal mastery,” without it the hand is not complete.

Personal Mastery grows based upon our personal visions. It shapes out of development of patience and energy. Personal mastery is illuminated if we examine our ambitions to the highest level. Mr. Senge uses “personal mastery” for the discipline of personal growth and learning. (Senge, p.141). However, he turns our definition of “learning” upside down when he says that: ““Learning” in this context does not mean acquiring more information, but expanding the ability to produce the results we truly want in life” (Senge, p.142).

Peter Senge, however, talks about personal mastery not just in terms of a learning process or discipline. He thinks personal mastery constitutes us with self awareness and must manifest itself in our behaviors. It makes me nod my head in approval. I agree with Peter Senge. I think a person, especially one who lives in a world filled with technology and science, can often forget about ones behaviors and the impact of these behavior on others.

In the past two weeks, while driving to work, I have been listening to Peter Senge’s audio book. My perspective about organizations, visions, and personal growth is being shaped by each and every section of this book. I have come to fully appreciate when Senge says: “People with a high level of personal mastery share several basic characteristics. They have a special sense of purpose that lies behind their visions and goals” (Senge, p.142).

I know that not everyone has goals or large enough ambitions to have the willingness to achieve personal mastery. Because personal mastery is a journey and a – conditional - learning process.

I have always been very hard on myself and have often forgotten my soul and spirit. As Senge indicates I have had many “emotional tension” (Senge, p.151), and “state of anxiety “that I have carried with me, which have led to a less enjoyable learning process. Often I have seen learning as a goal rather than a journey.  Now that I have started this doctoral program I want to learn, enjoy the process, and not be solely focused on possessing mastery. I want to acquire tools to reach a higher quality of interactions with my team and cohorts in my education and continue the journey Senge talks about. I believe this is achievable as I have experienced similar challenges in the past but it certainly requires a conscious effort on my part.


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