What is “Life Mastery” all about?
: knowledge and skill that allows one to do, use, or understand something as an independently recognized and certified “expert” or professional
: having complete control or “ownership” of something
: dominion / superiority / ascendancy / full command of a discipline or profession
An esteemed colleague, Tom Walters, offered this additional background and insight on “Mastery”:
“The concept of “Mastery” has oriental roots. Orientals in China, North and South Korea and Japan developed physical training by very skilled teachers. These teachers were known and addressed as “Master”. In the 19th Century teachers were highly respected world-wide because of their rare abilities, learning and experience. In Europe, the Church was the leader in education, but after the French Revolution, the most learned were called “Professors” and highly respected, as were the “Masters” in Orient.
The term later became a verb and was used when someone mastered something…they became equal to the master…..thus having mastered a subject. Not learning a subject fairly well, nor even very well, but mastering a subject. They learned as well as the master. For example, I want my Doctor and airplane pilot to have mastered their subject matter. I also would want the teacher of my children to demand mastery.“
Thus, “Mastery” includes the ability not only to do Gold Standard / Industry Standard work but to be in commanding control of the field of play and to “set the bar” for others.
A Master Craftsman – be it electrician, plumber, woodworker, etc. – is not only familiar with the tools required for industry standard performance of his craft, but has demonstrated expertise in using them correctly, safely, effectively and consistently to produce highest quality goods and services.
The Master Craftsman’s “toolbox” includes: in-depth knowledge of the “craft” and all its associated linkages, critical thinking skills, project planning, problem-solving, resourcefulness, versatility, a knowledge and understanding of rules and regulations governing his/her discipline, and a commitment to maintaining state of the art knowledge and skills as the craft or profession advances. He/she understands the fundamental properties of matter associated with his/her respective discipline … be it electricity, aluminum, copper, water, cast iron, wood, solder, etc.
The Master Craftsman knows and understands what does and does not work, understands what’s wrong when something does not work, and can repair and restore damaged or non-functional goods to “show room” condition. The Master Craftsman will not be a party to shoddy or unprofessional workmanship or results. A Master Craftsman is often a member of a “guild” or professional association that officially recognizes his/her expertise and provides some level of certification.
But “Mastery” is not a one-shot deal or a parking lot: You want your physician to be in full command not only of the stuff he or she learned in medical school, internships and residencies, but of the latest advances in their field. A mind-set/heart-set/soul-set for persistent, perpetual, dogged and uncompromisable “striving for excellence” is required for true Mastery to be realized.
Interestingly, a core set of Mastery tools and skills can be applied to multiple disciplines:
- With uncompromising dedication/commitment, discipline, persistence, long-suffering diligence and sacrifice, one can master math. With similar tools, one can master language.
- It takes similar tools to master the core elements of life: a career, financial independence, marriage, sanity and retirement prospects.
- Purpose, Mission, Passion and Dreams fuel the journey. Without them, mastery is a mere drudge and an empty kettle.
Life Mastery is an overarching, sustained endeavor toward becoming “all that you can be” … toward achieving your true potential … toward making your life COUNT for something … toward minimizing regrets … toward maximizing possibilities and opportunities … toward optimizing command and control of your life and work … toward maximizing blue chip choices.
WHY BE BOTHERED about Life Mastery?
- If you’re a hopelessly resigned “underachiever”, inclined to let fate determine your destiny and inclined to abdicate responsibility for your own wellbeing, you may not need to be “bothered” about life mastery.
- If you’re independently wealthy, you may already have “paid your dues”; however, if not, and you’re content to live life vicariously, you may not need to be “bothered” about life mastery.
- If you’re “Special” in your small pond surroundings and content with merely wading around the edges of life, notwithstanding shallow water limitations or the forfeiture of deep water benefits and rewards, you may not need to be “bothered” about life mastery.
- If you’re smarter than the average bear and committed to “Beating the System” with conjured entitlements, cunning deception, excuses, disclaimers, explanations and as many “Get out of jail free” cards as you can surreptitiously acquire, then you may not need to be “bothered” about life mastery.
- If you’re into fantasy, with a belief in superheroes, knights on white horses, princesses in pumpkins and glass slippers, and/or the lottery … simply “waiting for your ship to come in” … you may not need to be “bothered” about life mastery.
- If you are a person of rock-solid Faith, resolutely dependent on the Almighty to direct your life and bail you out of tough places, you may not need to be “bothered” about life mastery. (Just be aware that, while the Almighty may accept you just as you are and may look after you when you can’t do for yourself, He/She may expect YOU to do your own part in becoming all you can be. To become anything less than you CAN be ties the Almighty’s hands and makes a mockery of the power already vested in YOU, Inc.!)
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See also: Mastery by Robert Greene (2012) Viking Adult, 352 pp.