How to Master Anything


“Only one who devotes himself to a cause with his whole strength and soul can be a true master. For this reason mastery demands all of a person.” – Albert Einstein

In order to become a master in any given field requires determination and effort. You need to have enough will power  in order to overcome any obstacle that may be present along the way. The only way to keep persevering is to have enough passion for the thing you want to master.

George Leonard, author of Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfilment, points out that we currently live in a society that is at war with the proper understanding of mastery. We are conditioned to believe – through TV, movies and society – that life is a continuous succession of successful escalation and climaxes, without consideration of the effort and setbacks that people will encounter on their path to being great at something. We are ingrained to believe in getting rich quick, losing weight quickly or anything else that has “quickly” dragging afterwards. We are ingrained to expect quick fixes and instant gratification.  The true path to mastering anything is realistically not the quick path.

Path to Mastery

The path to mastery is not as linear as one may think. The path to mastery explained by Leonard goes like this:

“Learning any new skill involves relatively brief spurts of progress, each of which is followed by a slight decline to a plateau somewhat higher in most cases than that which preceded it…the upward spurts vary; the plateaus have their own dips and rises along the way…To take the master’s journey, you have to practice diligently, striving to hone your skills, to attain new levels of competence. But while doing so–and this is the inexorable–fact of the journey–you also have to be willing to spend most of your time on a plateau, to keep practising even when you seem to be getting nowhere.”  (Mastery, p. 14-15).


The mastery curve works in slight increases followed by periods of plateaus. Where most people quit is when they reach a plateau and think that what they’re doing isn’t worth the time and effort as they’re seeing no improvement. Improvement happens in rapid successions, where a breakthrough is achieved after a period of intense practising with little to no improvement. Plateaus exist on every level of the path. You can’t overcome and skip them – they are part of the process.


Points To Achieve Mastery

–          Find What Your Passionate About
Find out what it is you love doing in life. What makes you tick the most. What can you do if money or time was no object. Here I wrote about finding your passion

–          Find a Guide
Look for people who have gone before you. Find out who the top are at the field you want to master, whether it is writing, painting or even basket weaving. Look at the methods employed by the top in the field, replicate what they do and do it often

–          Achieve Mastery
Some people say it takes an average of 10,000 hours of dedicated persistence in a field to achieve greatness. I’m sure it varies person to person, but this is a general rule. To achieve this takes an effort on your part to put in the time. Follow the steps to getting good, and just keep doing it. Over and over and over. Practice it for practice sake. No need on achieving an immediate outcome, but for the knowing in you that it will take you to mastery if you just keep practising.  

The most important point to remember is that mastery isn’t a destination but the journey. You will never reach a point where there can be no more progress, no more learning. There is no finish line. The love and satisfaction from doing something is the drive on the mastery path, and the better you get the more joy and satisfaction you’ll receive. The enjoyment of it is the reason you do it, so by trying to reach an “end” goal you’ve missed the point of it. Happiness is by living the path.


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