Achieving mastery

Make no mistake about it: the journey toward success and prosperity isn’t a walk in the park. At least not when one is just starting on a venture and trying to find his or her niche in the market. The first part of the journey is the hardest, during which we undergo trials big and small. It is during this first phase when most people simply drop out of the race. They don’t have the patience, grit and perseverance to keep at it. What they don’t know is that most of the time, success is just over one more hump or obstacle, and the rest of the way becomes smoother.

We have to understand that to succeed, and then become rich, we have to achieve mastery at whatever it is we are doing. If we are professionals, we cannot hope to climb the career ladder unless we become good, nay masters, at what we are doing. In sports, business, professions and everything else, it is the masters who have the edge, and are most likely to succeed. If it is a product, then we have to make it shine and excel over the competition. People seldom settle for second-class when it comes to buying products.

There is really no secret to it: the path to mastery is constant practice and a lot of trial and error. Repetition is the key to mastery. This is best shown by champions in sports and the great painters, musicians and other artists. Excellence doesn’t allow for shortcuts.

Daniel Coyle, author of the book “The Talent Code”, wrote that remarkable improvement in skills happens when a person engages in “deep practice,” which he describes as “struggling in certain targeted ways… in which you are forced to slow down, make errors and correct them.”

Malcolm Gladwell, a prominent psychologist who write “Outliers”, postulated that mastery is often achieved after 10,000 hours of “deliberate practice”. Indeed, great athletes and artists reach their peaks because of the long hours of practice they put into their craft. Michael Jordan, for instance, was famous for spending an extra two hours shooting hoops and training in the gym when his team mates have already ended the practice sessions.

The more you master, the more you grow, and the more you grow, the more you master. This is how Tony Robbins, one of the most popular authors on wealth building and personal success, described what he calls a positive feedback cycle. “Repetition is the mother of skill,” Robbins has emphasized. The more skillful you are, the better are your chances of achieving success and wealth.

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