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How to Master Anything

How to Master Anything

February 4, 2019 11:09 pm0 comments

Many writings about achieving great success talk about business success, which tends to be pretty easy once mastery is achieved. People rarely talk about achieving mastery. One can achieve business success without any mastery. But mastery itself cannot be faked.

If you want to master a thing, you better be ready to put in the time.

But not just time. You have to use that time wisely, to practice the thing you want to master. You better be ready to learn from people who know that thing better than you. Learn from them by reading them, by meeting them, and talking to them. Learn from them by watching them in action and listening to what they say.

You also need to have some natural ability to build from. No matter how much time I spend and much I learn, I will never be a great athlete, or radio announcer, or cave diver. My limbs are too gangly, my voice is too nasally, my neuroses are too debilitating.

What else do you need? You need security and stability; after all, it’s hard to practice every day without food, water, shelter, health, and protection from violence of all kinds. You need a somewhat sound mind that can focus itself on the task. You need the body parts necessary to accomplish your craft.

Finally, you need the thing that is being mastered; most of us aren’t lucky enough to have our instruments ‘built in’ like a singing voice. You need that trombone, and a rag to clean it. You need that laptop and the code compiler. You need that farm you hope to expertly till. In many cases, that also means you need money.

There are some things you don’t need. You don’t need connections, at least not until you are ready to make a business out of it, and even then people are always happy to help ambitious up and comers. You don’t need permission: in most of the world today, people are free to pursue their passions if they have the ability and their passions don’t fall afoul of the law. You don’t need a formal education: at least, not what typically passes for an education these days. You don’t need to be from a specific place, or be of a specific background. You don’t need to speak a specific language. You don’t need many abilities beyond those you are mastering.

Mastering something requires so many things, but also may require a great deal less than you think. If you think you cannot master something, ask whether you’re actually being held back, or you just think you are.

Be patient. You can get there.

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