There are very few things worth talking about over and over again, and fewer which I feel so passionately about that I actually want to talk about them over and over.
The idea of mastery is one of them.
I think we would solve almost all of the worlds problems if each and every person just decided, right now, to become the best in the world at one thing.
This blog's motto, I Don't Do Half-Ass, isn't just some cutesy phrase... it's a constant reminder to myself not to take the path of least resistance. Not take the easy way out.
Do your work and master your craft.
Honestly, is there anything else worth doing?
Most people go around half-assing their way through life.
Playing it safe.
I used to do it, too.
(hint: it didn't make me filthy rich, happy or anything other than frustrated and sometimes shameful)
I used to do it until I realized that dabblers never win.
They don't go all in because to do so means to risk failure. If not failure, they risk becoming successful. Either way means having to leave your comfortable little bubble of existence.
Thing is... becoming successful at anything requires all of you.
You've got to go all in.
Show me one truly great business that was built without someone, somewhere, pouring their heart, soul and everything else they had into it.
Show me one truly great book, one movie, one sales letter... one masterfully crafted walking stick.
Everything you admire was built by a master of their craft.
Same reason you can't build an intimate connection to a romantic partner by only talking about the surface details of your life. You have to put your personality on the line and risk rejection.
Success requires courage. Real courage. Courage to be vulnerable.
The whole half-assing thing, putting in a half-hearted effort in everything... It's an approach symptomatic of the morbidly afraid, comfortable, let's-not-take-any-risks approach to life.
And it's why everyone's miserable.
Most people never truly challenge themselves.
Most people do everything they possibly can to stay inside their comfort zone...
Even if they know that science tells us that the formula for happiness is Challenge + Novelty + Connection.
Most people never challenge themselves, try new things or make an effort to connect with others.
I think most people are scared to.
So uhm. Master what, exactly?
Whatever you want. Clapton mastered the guitar. I read through Carlton's sales letters and my entire being is in awe and appreciation. Look down at Baryshnikov's toes and you'll see that they are completely mangled from decades of abuse.
But in my opinion?
The first order of business is mastering your own expression.
Master being you.
Most people are terribly inept at expressing themselves to the world.
If I had to pick three life skills, they would be:
- Social skills - expressing yourself with other people, face to face
- Writing - expressing yourself through the written word
- Learning - learning how to learn (this is compounding, by the way... the more new things you learn, the easier it will be to learn another new thing)
As it happens, based on everything we know about happiness, mastering these three things is a pretty guaranteed formula for happiness and fulfillment in life.
Oh... and the reason I think writing is so important, aside from the obvious reasons, is because it's the clearest and most concise form of expression.
If you learn how to express yourself and communicate thoughts and ideas through the written word, the way you think in general will become much clearer. It will also help you communicate face to face, since the real skill is simply clear and effective communication. Writing teaches you that.
What's your topic of mastery?
If you had to become the best in the world at one thing... what would it be?
If you don't have an answer to that, I would suggest putting some non-half-assed effort in to figure it out. You won't regret it.
P.S. This whole post was inspired by seeing four masters in a room together. Master-level pros just sitting and talking, pro to pro, is something you rarely have a chance to witness, so I suggest exploiting every chance you get.
Here's the video. Thoroughly enjoyed this one.
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I love standup comedy, by the way. Who's your favorite comedian?