George Leonard has a book called “Mastery” that is essentially about living your life as a practice, and in it he talks about the nature of developing mastery in any chosen endeavor. According to Leonard, you develop in fits and spurts characterized by periods of apparent no-growth or “plateaus” as Leonard calls them.
This I think is a fundamental concept that must be fully understood and integrated into a life practitioner. It is simply not possible to experience constant progression when you’re growing. It is the nature of growth and development to have periods where you experience no-growth or even decline.
Leonard points out that this doesn’t mean that you’re not growing, but rather that it takes some time before the growth you are undergoing manifests itself.
Therefore the challenge for the life practitioner is to learn to accept and even love the periods where you’re practicing, where you’re taking the actions. There is no attachment to the outcome, only a love of the practice. This for Leonard is true mastery, not the accomplishment that comes from it. It’s just the nature of life that when you practice for the love of it, the accomplishments just seem to come along with it.