Howard Lederer is a co-founder and co-owner of Full Tilt Poker and a successful professional poker player. Per Wikipedia, he is, “Known as “the Poker Professor” because of his demeanor, analytical style and long history of wins.”
Lederer wrote an article where he explains the four stages of achieving poker mastery.
1. Beginner’s Passion – “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s there are few.” Shunryu Suzuki
He played 70 hours a week. He had no fear primarily because he was naive and did not realize the amount of skill his competitors had.
2. The Student Emerges – “He is now forced to admit that he is at the mercy of everyone who is stronger, more nimble and more practiced than he.” Eugen Herrigel
He began a disciplined effort to study the game. At first, he was almost overwhelmed by the massive amount of technical knowledge that had to be absorbed and mastered.
3. Expert Level is Achieved – “He who has a hundred miles to walk should reckon ninety as half the journey” Japanese Proverb
He had become an expert poker player but still found it difficult to deal with the high stress of tournament play.
4. Poker, One Hand at a Time – “If one really wishes to be master of an art, technical knowledge of it is not enough. One has to transcend technique so that the art becomes an ‘artless art’ growing out of the Unconscious” Daisetz T. Suzuki
This is Lederer’s current stage. He works hard to stay in the moment and trust his preparation.