I've been putting these thoughts together for a while. Today it gelled into something resembling coherence:
There's a difference between mastery and competence in any discipline. That difference is easy to see, but not easy to measure. Competence is relatively easy to achieve, and as such, is commoditized. Mastery, on the other hand, takes time, and is scarce.
Many (maybe most) of us have thought ourselves masterful when we were only passingly competent. It's only with continued growth in our discipline that we come to know how far from mastery we once were.
If that's tl;dr material, here's the summation:
There are no shortcuts to mastery.