Mastery by Robert Greene is a book that walks you through the process of how humans become masters of their crafts. Detailed analyses of the some of the greatest minds to ever live are contained in this book, including Mozart, Larry Page, Temple Grandin, and Benjamin Franklin.
The book is broken up into the 5 “phases” of the mastery process: discovery, apprenticeship, mentoring, social intelligence, and mastery. Each of these phases builds on the last, eventually leading to world-class skill development.
You can learn more about the book here. Here are 7 quotes from Mastery by Robert Greene that will help you conquer your life’s task. Each blurb below offers you some advice for putting the perspective into action.
#1. “The time that leads to mastery is dependent on the intensity of our focus.”
Accept that multitasking doesn't work. If you are to be the best, you must have a singular focus that you pursue daily.
If your goal is to build, build. If you feel destined to write, start writing. If you are to achieve, you must be specific and intentional. Whatever your craft is, you must develop it by adopting laser focus towards it’s improvement.
#2. “Most people are perpetually locked in the present. Their decisions are overly influenced by the most immediate event; they easily become emotional and ascribe greater significance to a problem than it should have in reality.”
Being present helps if you’re too future-focused. But if you don’t know where you’re going, and making choices based on that distinction, you’re wasting time.
To achieve, become a hypocrite. Value both your long-term vision and a daily sense of urgency. Marry the two, as contradictory as they seem.
#3. “The truth is that creative activity is one that involves the entire self - our emotions, our levels of energy, our characters, and our minds.”
Have you ever experienced flow? When time slows down and you are able to see things for what they really are, you can perform to the best of your ability.
It’s not enough to try hard. Put your soul into your work, even during menial tasks. It’s uncomfortable. It won’t always feel worth it. But you will develop a masterful sense of your internal environment as you hone your craft.
#4. “Too often we make a separation in our lives—there is work and there is life outside work, where we find real pleasure and fulfillment…..If we experience this time as something to get through on the way to real pleasure, then our hours at work represent a tragic waste of the short time we have to live.”
What does work represent to you?
Separating your life’s task from your work is a surefire path to misery. If your work doesn’t reflect what you feel your purpose is, what are you doing with your life? How can you expect to ever feel fulfilled?
#5. “The best way to neutralize our natural impatience is to cultivate a kind of pleasure in pain—like an athlete, you come to enjoy rigorous practice, pushing past your limits, and resisting the easy way out.”
Masters of their craft are masochists by nature. Most progress is made outside one’s comfort zone. Learn to embrace the uncertainty and pain that comes with growth as you master your craft.
#6. “Our levels of desire, patience, persistence, and confidence end up playing a much larger role in success than sheer reasoning powers.”
I think this quote speaks to the capability of humans and their potential to achieve as a whole.
10 years down the road, which thing will matter more: how talented you believed you were, or how many times you showed up to put in the work?
Consistency triumphs reason. Keep showing up and let the process take care of itself.
#7. “At your birth a seed is planted. That seed is your uniqueness. It wants to grow, transform itself, and flower to its full potential. It has a natural, assertive energy to it. Your Life’s Task is to bring that seed to flower, to express your uniqueness through your work. You have a destiny to fulfill.”
You were born with innate talents and traits that make you uniquely qualified to do something in this world. Do you know what that thing is? Maybe you have an idea, but aren’t sure.
It’s your job to not only uncover your Life’s Task, but to realize your potential within it’s arena. Go back to your earliest days. Figure out what lit you up, and think about how that applies to the world now. And get to work. It’s simple, but it’s not easy. And it takes a lifetime to realize.
You may called selfish. People won’t understand you for your pursuit of only one thing. They’ll tell you to seek balance. But, you will achieve something few others will. You will become world class at your craft.
You will become a master.