The process of achieving mastery in any field begins humbly – with a dream. Innate ability and natural talent may be enough to achieve success in certain endeavors, but mastery is the result of applying those talents with discipline and determination to a specific goal.
These are the 7 steps to becoming a master:
- Practice Makes Perfect
The more you practice, the easier it gets. You develop creative muscle memory the more you exercise your creative muscles. The best way to prepare yourself for doing a thing IS DOING THAT THING. You have to push through those lulls between moments of inspiration and keep on producing.
- Make Change a Part of your Routine
As you grow more comfortable in your field, you must begin to branch out. Just as is the case with physical exercise, your body adapts to routines causing the effectiveness of your workouts to diminish over time. To continue to see improvement and growth, you must vary your routine. You must periodically change the type, speed, weight, resistance and frequency of your exercises.
- You Get no Credit for Re-Inventing the Wheel
You cannot achieve excellence in anything without a disciplined approach. Your growth will be stunted without consistent training and continuing education. Mastery of any subject demands your full attention and intention. It is not enough that you know what YOU know…You need to learn what others have already discovered.
- There is no Substitute for Time Served
Becoming expert in your field entails a long, arduous climb to the top of the mountain. You must show up and grind out each and every step, each and every day. The true path to mastery does not include an escalator or an oxygen mask. A legitimate expert is someone who earned their way to the top spending the long hours of training and practicing required.
- You Didn’t pick this Life, It Picked You
A master is not passively interested. They have no choice:
This is a calling-
An irresistible urge.
This is a curiosity that,
even after having studied
and researched for years,
you are not satisfied, or willing,
to give up your quest to fully perfect your craft.
- Volunteers Are Not Paid Well
You must be prepared to redefine your idea of success. Money and status will become ancillary concerns (at least at the beginning) if you are to genuinely apply yourself to the pursuit of your dreams. Success will be defined by your happiness long before the money comes. But don’t fret…acquiring great wealth at the cost of sacrificing your dreams is a hollow victory. Using financial success as a measure of your overall success may lead to compromises that you will later regret.
- No Matter Which Road You Travel, You Have to Buy a Ticket
Your commitment will include investments of your time AND money. A master’s degree in any field takes six years of intensive study. It also costs a helluva lot of money. Any endeavor in which you wish to achieve mastery should be something for which you are willing to commit both. You can’t graduate from Harvard if you don’t pay the tuition, buy the books and show up for class.
If the path to mastery sounds difficult, then you may not be ready to begin. If you are truly meant to master any undertaking, these 7 steps will be more of a call to action than a cumbersome list of challenges. If you are not itching to get started, you’ll never finish.