Even though the phrase “a steep learning curve” has come to be used in two contradictory ways, the learning process itself can be divided into several universally recognized stages, with absolute mastery being the last one.

Comprehensive knowledge of a subject can work in several ways. For example, it can motivate us to keep exploring a given area with a view to becoming the best of the best, or we may end up demotivated as our progress rate slows down dramatically and the “feel good” effect is gone.