We are all novices. It takes years to become an adept.An adept at what? Ho ho.
Being an adept is about managing change. To manage change you need to understand change. All change is relative, so your terms of reference and your scale are important. You want to exert change relative to what? By how much?
These terms and scale can change for each project or operation you undertake.
For each project you must know the territory inside out. This requires substantial research, the necessary resources to be gathered, and a calm mind.
The terms of reference which you employ must coincide with the real and the potential worlds.
The potential contains the real like a bowl contains suspended solids. If you work in a nearly saturated environment, in other words one where the potential events nearly precipitate into real events, then success is more likely.
We assume that the universe operates according to natural laws and that randomness also exists.
You must be rooted in the Creative and operate in the Receptive. These exist in a reciprocal relationship, and roughly correspond to the potential and the real.
If things are in their proper place relative to each other then harmony occurs. If things are not fulfilling their function where they are then disorder results.
The role of the adept is usually to restore order. But first she must attend to this in her own life. Then more powerful actions are possible.
Harmony brings good fortune. This is called preparing the base or HQ. It follows that brute strength or surface charms are not sufficient to bring results although they may have temporary success. For example Blair!
Identification with deep structure (the laws of the universe) is important for it yields understanding of consequences, the key to managing change.
Of course it is not just about strategy but judgement too. How good is yours?
Some people rely a lot on symbols. These are useful tools but one must not be seduced into believing they are real. They are arbitrary and to be discarded by the true adept, who only needs to be guided by his or her intuition as if instinctively.
The adept's consciousness is like a membrane. On one side is the mind, the creative. On the other: the real, 'out there'. Sensations pass through it each way. It does not hold on to or judge what comes up to or onto its surface but lets it pass through, while noticing it.
The adept's centre is protected at all times, fed and nurtured by constant practice. What form the practice takes is important only in that it does not have disharmonious consequences anywhere. Otherwise it can be anything, since all is arbitrary.
Only belief and persistence are important. While belief is fundamental, you must know it is only belief -- a metaphor, a symbol, a tool. Not a thing in itself.
Powers fade. Nothing lasts. Balance is always temporary. It reforms elsewhere.