There’s no trickery to Mastery

“Practice daily to attain familiarity, treating them as ordinary affairs, so the mind remains unchanged.”

-Miyamoto Musashi

Becoming a master in something sounds like it applies to painters and people who participate martial arts. But to become a master (or show mastery of a skill) it means you’ve not only learned but you’ve understood the skill in its entirety and are now fluent in using it. So, if that’s the case, mastery applies to almost any- or everything.  The one thing that is consistent whenever you decide to “master” something is that it takes time. In this day and age when there’s a hack, app or device to get things done more easily and faster, the true art of discipline towards learning something is often lost. These days if you don’t see the results you want in the next three months (max), it just isn’t for you. It’s safe to

I hope it’s safe to assume that deep, DEEP, down we all know that’s not how most things work, right? Right?

Anywho, there’s a lot to be said about mastering a new skill and creating a mindset towards embracing and achieving mastery. It doesn’t exclude anyone or one thing to be learned. It applies to many aspects of life – the lessons and abilities you gain from mastering one thing can affect the habits you apply to everyday situations. You’re not only training towards one thing but you’re training yourself, mindset and perception.

There are some basics when it comes down to mastering Mastery:

  1. Setting clear and specific goals
  2. You’ll always be learning
  3. Motivating yourself through the boredom of repetition
  4. Technique is more important than rewards
  5. Every upcoming master needs a master (even though I have some differing thoughts on this. I’ll explain more about that later).

Setting clear and specific goals

This is obviously a must. You can’t just dive head first into learning something new if you’re not entirely sure what you want to get from it or what to do with it. The more specific your goal is, the more you’ll be able to have laser-focus on what you’re doing.

You’ll always be learning

Every step, from the first to the last, is learning. The road to mastery starts when you always think of yourself as an apprentice. In actually the end goal is an ongoing process, itself. A friend of mine always said that being the smartest person in the room is a disadvantage. He prefers to keep learning from others around him and be open to the different angles of knowledge he can receive.

Sometimes we’re more focused on fundamentals as stepping stones to more rewarding progressions, but in reality, they are the building blocks that make true mastery possible. Each step must be mastered before moving on to the next.

Motivating yourself through the boredom of repetition

Mastering a skill or trade includes being consistent and repetition. There may be moments when you become bored with your craft. “Practice makes perfect” and there’s a reason that statement can hold itself up. Natural talent won’t make up for the lack of time invested in practice. Don’t let distractions derail you from the progress you’re making.

Technique is more important than rewards

The prize for accomplishing any specific technique should be the psychological joy of knowing that you’ve mastered it. Never allow a mistake to go uncorrected. Always believe in the importance of technique – the right technique. Consider learning to master something the same as forming a habit.

Every perfect repetition creates a good habit –one that’ll have positive effects later on. Every incorrect repetition creates an alike but bad habit–one that can easily become a disadvantage to you long-term.

The trick is to eradicate mistakes as early as possible and keep reinforcing the right moves.

Every upcoming Master needs a Master

Every apprentice needs a master. It always helps to have a guide to show you the right way. Expert teachers help you in two ways: They outline a route of instruction for you to follow, they help you every time you veer off course, and they pretty much force you to keep on track with your progress. There has to be guidance and someone there to show us the way. For that reason alone, mastery is a team effort, not a solo endeavor.

For this essential requirement for mastery, I do believe that helping one’s self towards a goal isn’t a bad option. In reality, for most, finding a Master – i.e. an actual human expert – is hard and not always possible. With technology and a growing supply of resources, it’s more than possible to make the right tools be your guides as well. YouTube, Google, Social Media – whether it be a tutorial or immersing yourself in a community of like-minded people with similar goals is a good way to start.

Not everyone has their own Mr. Miyagi but personally, I don’ think that’s an excuse. You wanna write? Make music? Paint?Rock climb? Knit? Consider approaching it like mastery and see how well you do.


What do you think you can Master?

Don’t be afraid to comment below!


Check out this great article on tips that created the most successful Masters.


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