I have been on a journey that started a little over a year ago. On this journey, I kept saying things like I want to be good, I want to be really better at what it is that I do. What I learned was that I had a need for Mastery.
When I was young, and again as an adult, I trained in martial arts. The difference between martial arts and the other competitive endeavors that I have been involved in is the goal. In most competitions, the goal is to win. In martial arts the goal is to become a master. A master is great at what they do because they have taken their practice to a new level. They are always pushing themselves and refining their technique. It has nothing to do with winning. Winning is superficial. Mastery is fundamental.
It was a missing key. Mastery is this thing that I have always known about, but somehow had stopped pursuing.
And so I have been seeking it out. I read George Leonard’s book on Mastery. It was a quick read that I got through in a couple of days. I have been re-reading Cal Newport’s So Good They Can’t Ignore You. It has changed my approach.
All this reading showed me that I had abandoned being slow and steady.
There isn’t much talk about how achieve all your dreams in 10 years. And though years of schooling have made me acclimated to delayed gratification, I had traded that for instant gratification. I expected that I could keep shoving facts in my brain and that out would tumble the muscle memory to do what I wanted. I was frustrated with what I perceived as my slow uptake of new information. I had missed the point.
Instead, I stopped worrying about comparing myself to others and have started to focus on digging deep. No one goes deep anymore. There isn’t a lot of celebration for being the best in the world at something. But even great opportunities won’t keep you elevated if you haven’t built a foundation to stand on.
So my goal moving forward is to be a master. I want to be the best at what I do. And what I do is something that I am still learning to articulate, but I am working towards that goal every day. It’s worth it to work for it. There needs to be more masters in the world. I plan to be one of them.