Becoming a master of your field is a long journey without a clear destination. The only thing to do is to constantly improve and hone your craft until the very end.
Do you want to step on this path? Let’s go.
“If people knew how hard I had to work to gain my mastery, it would not seem so wonderful at all.” ― Michelangelo Buonarroti
Acquiring vast knowledge and skill in your field will boost your happiness and self-confidence. You will know you are valuable. You will have the respect of other people, but also, you will gain more satisfaction from the job well done as you frequently burst into the state of flow.
When you suck at your job, your self-esteem and level of happiness will be naturally lower. So repeat these words: “get good, get better, be the best.”
Examples in Mastery – Saruman
I was always interested in the figure of Saruman (“Man of Skill”), the antagonist from The Lord of The Rings trilogy. Look what Aragorn had to say about him:
“Once he was as great as his fame made him. His knowledge was deep, his thought was subtle, and his hands marvelously skilled; and he had a power over the minds of others. The wise he could persuade, and the smaller folk he could daunt. That power he certainly still keeps.”
At the time of his death Saruman was 2019 years old so he had a bit of time to work on his gifts. But that shouldn’t discourage you – you have the time for mastery.
Achieving mastery – how much time?
The 10.000 hours rule comes from “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell. According to it, you can achieve mastery in almost any field if you spend at least 10.000 hours on deliberate practice.
This is a bit oversimplified, but seems to hold true in most cases. The definitive work on this subject which I highly recommend is “Mastery” by Robert Greene.
You have to realize that time will pass anyway, so you might as well start working on your skills right now. In ten years you can be on the top of your field, or still waiting for a raise from your merciless employer. The choice is yours.
“Pay the price today, so you can pay any price tomorrow” – Grant Cardone
7 Methods for gaining mastery
1. Read one hour (or more) a day in your field. Check out the classics of your trade and expand your knowledge and skill.
2. Listen to audiobooks. I’ve found that listening to audiobooks the most effortless way to gain new knowledge
3. Check out services like Audible that give you one month of trial and a free audiobook before you even spend a dime.
I would also recommend finding best podcasts and listening to them during exercise or your daily commute. You can understand spoken word even if you play it at 300% the speed. Use apps like Audio Speed Changer or Audipo to cut your listening time in half.
4. Learn from the masters. Is there someone in your vicinity whom you can emulate? Many greatest artists and business people had a mentor who guided them.
5. Immerse yourself in the subject. Hit it from as many directions as possible. Listen to it while doing other activities, watch it on the train, read it in your bed. Look at it when on treadmill. Also, study a couple of books of the same author – you will have a deeper grasp of their method.
I did it with Dan Kennedy, Jay Abraham, Brian Tracy, Grant Cardone, Tony Robbins, Jim Rohn, John Bogle, Rich Shefren.
6. Read about masters – their biographies and autobiographies. How about Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci? Or the autobiography of Benjamin Franklin? Maybe Writing: A memoir of the craft by Steven King? Or Unfinished Business by Dan Kennedy? These books give you a tremendous opportunity to converse with the greats.
7. Become an apprentice under a master’s tutelage. In today’s world you can gain access to mentors and coaches who will further your progress with their guidance. Observing the master at work is an unprecedented opportunity for your mirror neurons to learn how to mimic their behavior. You can almost become skilled by association. That’s why many young people decide to work for free if they can get access to mentors.
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