What is it that makes masters?
A tale of different master’s triumph over common living.
What mastery means – how to find your life’s task – Creating your apprenticeship and why it’s critical to mastery.
The importance of social intelligence and dimensional thinking.
”You must not see this process of moving through out levels of intelligence as merely linear – heading to an ultimate destination called Mastery – Your whole life is a kind of apprenticeship of which you apply your learning skills. Everything that happens to you is a form of instruction if you pay attention. The creativity you gain from learning a skill so deeply, must be constantly refreshed as you keep forcing your mind back to a state of openness.”
”If you allow yourself to learn who you really are by paying attention to the voice and force within you – Then you can become what you are fated to become. An individual – A master.”
”You cannot ultimately understand why you are drawn to certain activities or forms of knowledge – this cannot be verbalized or explained, it’s a fact of nature, and following this voice you realize your own potential and satisfy your deepest longings to create and express your uniqueness – it exists for a purpose and it’s your life’s task to bring it to fruition.”
In mastery, Robert Greene offers each person a chance to become a master.
”This is the real secret – the brain that we have is the work of 6 million years of development
and more than anything else this brain is designed to lead us to mastery.”
Most people tend to live an ordinary life. They accept their circumstances while some try to ascend from their circumstances – most don’t. Most people today won’t accomplish much in their lifetime. Greene is trying to prove that masters are not born with a super talent, and trying to say that everyone can become a master if they put effort to it at some point in their life and then sustain mastery. Greene defines Mastery as the point where we feel we have a greater command of reality other people, and ourselves.
Masters will come to have this experience constantly through their life.
The process begins with a basic introduction to a skill or field of passionate interest. At first the student is required to learn a great deal of information and then to overcome feelings of boredom, inpatients and fear during this stage. Eventually the task becomes more inherent. The task becomes easier more fluent and easier understood.
It comes a point when the basic skills are blended with the students own style and personality. They became a practitioner of the skill. If they persists in the process of learning and adapting, they will become masters. Now achieving master elevates that status and power of the individual. At this point the level of understanding and intuition far surpasses the average persons, and brings a tremendous practical power as well.
Mastery is when the mind is no longer trapped by consciousness and yet still able to create conscious solutions and innovation that are highly valuable. It’s a transformation from a world of route learning to a world of exploring questioning and understanding. Masters are able to gain keen insight into social situations and place themselves into the world of others and understand the impact of verbal interactions and action.
Greene uses great masters and point out what lead them to success. They all had youthful passions that all lead to future mastery. They were all emerged into an apprenticeship where they spent years honing their craft and challenged their minds to high thinking-. They were all willing to work harder and longer than everyone else. And they all showed an deep and powerful inclination toward a particular specific subject. Greene wants everyone to find this path. To follow their passion. And put every effort required to get to mastery. Mastery is critical and it’s wonderful. People will go as far as they challenge themselves and their minds.
Finding your life’s task
”At your birth a seed is planted – that seed is your uniqueness – it wants to grow and transform to a full potential. Your life’s task is to bring that seed to flower. Express your uniqueness through your work. You have a destiny to fulfill.”
The feelings within you, the passions you experience and some of the circumstances can lead you to your life’s tasks.
This is something you are born to do. But it’s not something that’s going to come easily and quickly. Social pressures can push you in the opposite directions of your life’s task. As often happens with many other people. Many masters had to push against this pressure from family, friends and society, as they were trying to fulfill their life’s task.
The hidden force within you is always there and always ready to be engaged if you listen to it. In working towards mastery there will come a point where you no longer need structured instructions, and you begin to lead your own trail. Many people lack this purpose but it can be found. What where you fascinated by as a child? What could not you get enough of? What gave you a sense of wonder? That might give you a spark to what becomes your life’s work.
You may find that there were a few different passions you had a child. Often masters combine passions. Not realizing that these were passions in different ways.
Sometimes masters need to rebel against expectations to find their life’s task. Mozart was a child prodigy when it came to playing the piano. But he needed to rebel against this false path, because his life’s task was actually composing. This is where he truly became a master. A false path can also be one that you are attracted to for the wrong reasons. Like money fame etc. A true life’s tasks though is followed through internal passion. Not from external rewards, even though they are nice. They are not the real inner motivation.
You might find that you are on the wrong path years in adulthood. You must leave the false path, while you recognize it as one.
You need to see that in the future, this effort that you put in now, will be rewarded. Sometimes your weaknesses is a primary indication of your life’s tasks. Analyze your weaknesses only as a path to direct you to your strengths. When you focus on developing your strength, you become more confident and more energy efficient.
”The goal of an apprenticeship not money or a title or diploma. But rather the transformation of your mind and character.”
The transformation required through and apprenticeship critical to the development of mastery. This apprenticeship is not necessarily a formal one or in a traditional sense. It’s an intense, intense focus on learning and growing, the passions associated with your life’s task.
The first is to be treated as an outsider looking in. Don’t assume having any knowledge or skills you absolutely can’t have. Become structured in your learning disciplined and willing to put in every effort you can to learn. Learn, learn, and learn. Go where you can learn the most, and never pick the easiest path.
3 steps in an apprenticeship
- Passive and observing everything. Observing its reality as deeply as possible. Step out of the picture to get a clear view off everything. Learn what the politics are and how they work. This will be used thought out your journey to mastery.
- Intense practices – this is where you become so adept of the physical skills of your apprenticeship – you will eventually accomplish them without concision thought, this may take years. You begin to critique, your own work. You can now dictate to yourself where improvements are necessary. You also find more efficient ways to completing tasks. Review your progress looking for gaps to fill. Actively experimenting. When you have nothing more to learn, it’s time to move on. You have learned how to learn.
- Always focus on how you can learn. Not how much you can make financially. Always be working to learn and grow, learn and grow. Never be satisfied with the knowledge you have now. Spend time with all of the people. Avoid any sense of superiority. Be humble and open to all learning experiences. Always be ready to take notes. It’s very necessary.
You are the only one who can disable the opportunity – Do not quit.
The apprenticeship works. When you have to work harder than everyone else to gain skills, and put more effort in – You will become better than everyone else than everyone else. Pain and struggle will be your closes allies. Failure is simply a chance to learn more about yourself and your environment – For master’s failure is often the impetus to their ultimate success.
Acquire a mentor surpass their knowledge
”To learn requires a sense of humility – we must admit that there are people out there that know our field much more deeply than we do. Their superiority is not a function of natural talent, but time and experience. Their authority is not based on politics or trickery. It’s real.”
Alongside your apprenticeship you need a mentor or a set of mentors. These are people who you can gain further knowledge and insight from. They are people with authority in the same field as your life’s task. Approach them with submission and humility and they will learn everything from they, but in a lesser time. It’s invaluable. Their feedback will save you time and mistakes – mentors feel invested in the people they mentor, they care deeply about your progress and thrive on the attention you give them. Anything you can that gains u more personal time with the mentors is worth it. If you are not able to attract a mentor, you need to gain more knowledge from books. But always be on the lookout for a good mentor. In order to get the most from your mentors, Greene has 4 strategies
- Pick a mentor that will enhance your goals of acquire knowledge in the fields you are passionate about.
- Always have a curiosity towards new beginnings and challenges – a mentor who is willing to push you out of your comfort zone through touch love and harsh challenges will get you most in the long run
- Take what they give you and transform it to something greater. Actively engage your mind as you require the best they have to offer you. And then use your uniqueness to improve upon it.
- Engage in a relationship where you both give and take. Your relationship relies on honest feedback and questioning of ideas. At some point your knowledge will become equal or greater than your mentors. Your ultimate goal must be to gain everything you can from your mentor and then to move on. You must not allow no guilt, when the time comes to assert yourself.
Acquire social intelligence
”Social intelligence is the ability to see people in the most realistic light possible. By moving past our usual self-absorption we can learn to focus deeply on others, reading their behavior in the moment, seeing what motivates them and discerning any possible manipulative tendencies. We have more time and energy to focus on learning and acquiring skill – Success without this intelligence is not truly master and will not last”
In very simple terms, social intelligence is being able to figure out, how people work. It’s being able to figure people out and using that to your advantage. It’s a necessary skill to your journey to mastery. All the knowledge and skill in the world will not be useful or appreciated if you can’t use them in a way that people can accept. Many masters learned the hard way the importance of social intelligence. They assumed that their brilliance and talent would bring them social acceptance into social circle, but later learned that that just was not enough. Social intelligence requires keen observation of others along with developing an understanding of what people care about. How they interact and how to gain advantage through their willingness or unknowing participation. It’s critical to accept people as they really are without judging them or trying to change them.
Someone with high social intelligence will be able to be truly charming, in a way that almost have people spellbound. It enables the master to avoid unnecessary confrontations – So evaluate past incidents to understand how you may have missed warning signs or believed things in people that just was not true. Learn from these experiences so they don’t become regular occurrence in your life. Adopt an attitude of supreme acceptance. Where you understand that you cannot change people and you do not expect to. When you acquire social intelligence you can accurately see the world from other people’s perspectives and understand how and why they act in certain ways. You will begin to see the motives behind their actions and their responses in different ways.
Developing social intelligence
”In the end your goal is to identify and pierce through what makes people unique, to understand the character and values that lie at their cores. The more you can fathom about peoples past and their way of thinking about things, the more deeply you can enter into their spirit. In this way you will be able to understand their motivations and see their actions and recognize how best to win them to your side. You will no longer be operation in the dark”
7 Character traits – The 7 deadly realities.
These will be present in various degrees in many social and professional situations. Knowing how to deal with these will greatly increase your success.
Envy happens when someone is upset that they don’t have the success of another person. It can lead to sabotage and personal attacks. You may see a hint of envy when someone exhibits extreme insecurity or behaves in an overly friendly way when they first meet someone. When dealing with envy, show some weakness in some area. Don’t come across as too gifted. Take interest in the other persons work, and ask questions. Your goal is to appear non-threatening.
Conformism is dangerous there is a tendency to defend a group values at the risk of common sense and necessary change. When apprenticing, do not show outward signs that you disagree with. Once you operate from a position of mastery yourself, you have a better opportunity to change conformism.
Rigidity is the unwillingness to accept or welcome change. People who are rigid are looking for comfort and security. Accept them and their stance. But don’t let yourself adopt this habit. Always stay open and willing to change.
When encountering someone who is self-obsessive, you must always appeal to their self-interests in order to engage them or offer them something in exchange for what you need from them. Keep conversation revolving around them and you may gain a supporter.
Lazy people will always look for an easy way to take credit for your work. They often engage in a project nearly at the end, and then claim the work. They may offer to collaborate and then leave all the work for you. When you identified this trait in someone. Avoid sharing any parts of your projects or ideas. Working alone is actually better so you can claim the work for yourself.
Flightiness will be identified over time as you observe someone who always responds through their emotions. They might be your proponent one day, and the next be dull and lackluster of any of your work. Try to maintain distance from people like this. Don’t count on any offers of help. And be prepared for their mood changes.
Passive aggressiveness is a trait found in people who have a fear direct confrontation. They will attack you with sly comments. You are best to avoid these people and certainly don’t get involved when they create drama. Using these strategies when dealing with these people you are sure to come in contact with, and this will enhance your progression towards mastery. These are skills that you will continue to need and you will get better to identify these traits in people as you tune in carefully to what’s going on around you.
There are some strategies Greene offers for developing social intelligence. You can show the people around you that you are advancing their cause with the work you provide. Understand that the work is the greatest voice you have for expressing yourself. Involve people in the things you are working on and clearly demonstrate that you are open to their feedback. Pay close attention to the type of persona you project to others. You will see that you need to project different sides you yourself in different environments. Give an image that fits but be careful to leave some mystery to this image. You must learn how to mingle and how to blend into all types of environment. Giving you maximum flexibility.
Get honest feedback on how others see you. You may need to change on how you communicate and express yourself to be more welcomed by others. Regardless of where you are. You will encounter people that green-labels as fools. People that don’t accomplish much, and get in the way of progress. See these people as part of an inanimate life. Smile at them, accept them and never waste time trying to change them. If you are unable to work within multiple social environments create opportunities where you do not have as much interactions with others. Keep trying to develop your social intelligence, but work more for yourself or in smaller environments.
Improvements in dimension
”As we merge from your apprenticeship, you must become increasingly bold instead of feeling complacent of what you know, you must expand your knowledge to related fields. Giving your mind fuel to make new associations between different ideas. In the end you will turn against the very rules you have internalized. Shaping and reforming them to suit your spirit. Such originality will bring you to the highest of power”.
The end of your apprenticeship is really a new beginning. You have learned and applied all the information and rules you could acquire. You beginning to practice your life’s task, and put into use all the hard work of your apprenticeship. Your challenge will be to maintain an open mind, willingness to learn and the courage to begin and experiment to create your new ideas. In order to nurture creativity you will need to continue to ask questions. And keep an element of playfulness and fun of how you view the world. Having a view of disciplining along a playful side, gives you what Greene calls a dimensional mind. This type of mind just doesn’t regurgitate facts. It’s always creating and engaging and interacting in new ways.
Creativity is in everybody but it takes work, to nurture this creativity, and avoid conformity. There is a great deal of risk involved. Because creativity involves trying things that are new and often unusual. A boldness and courage is required to step out of apprenticeship and forge a new path. You still need all the information and knowledge you can require along with the willingness to apply this knowledge in new and novel ways. The passion that lead you to begin the apprenticeship will now propel you in your work. Revisit the rebelling towards conformity that you may have experienced. The use of this passion and rebellion will be evident in your work.
Encourage creative outlet and things in your life that challenges you to explore and discover. Adapt a humble attitude, towards your work and your environment. So that your mind stays open to new information. Be ready for serendipitous moments. Many masters discover breakthroughs when they turn their conscious focus away from a problem, only to find a sudden understanding or solution occurring to them. Always carry with you a method of recording method of thoughts and ideas. Keep your mind alert for insights, questions and observations, and always record these immediately. Maintain a internal dialog of what you observe and think. When you continually cycling between speculation and observation experiment you are able to pierce deeper and deeper into reality.
Thinking creatively also means looking at things from a variety of different perspectives which can often be fun. Look at how things are related and how they impact each other. Be careful to avoid judgement and quick conclusions. This will keep your mind open to creative possibilities. Look at what has an impact on the world, and ask how this can be applied in other ways. Subscribe to imagery as a tool to avoid thinking in concrete and inflexible language. Picture how things are working and imagine all the components that are involved. Use images to make sense of the world, and then covert the images to language. Try drawing your ideas before writing them out. Masters are constantly questioning their work and their understanding of it. This creates a tension that they can engage to produce results. At the point of highest tension, they may step back or let go of the project for a period of time. Often this is when a breakthrough happens. And the master can re-engage with all the passion and excitement that drives them forward.
Deadlines are another effective way to create tension. As this creative process grows, always be looking for inspiration and passion.
Continue to take risks and invite bold ideas. You now rely on feedback from yourself and from the public instead of your mentor. Be careful to remain flexible in your thinking and open to new ideas. Choose to enjoy the pain of the process and never take the easy way to your goals. The masters known to have the greatest creativity, and the ones who participated the longest and most intense types of apprenticeships. The connection between time spent learning and great accomplishments, is clear throughout Greens book. They were also willing to go beyond their fields of study, to explore and find different answers. Anything that captures your attention is worth investigating and looking into. You are the supreme hunter. Ever alert, eyes scanning, landscape for the fact that will expose a once hidden reality. With profound consequences. Your best learning will involve your active participation. Don’t just design, experience your design. Embrace a lack of funds as it will give you the motivation to be the most efficient and inventive with what you have. Always connect the actions you’re taking with a bigger visions. A connection to reality and a commitment to disciplined study.
”High level intuition the ultimate sign of mastery, involves a process that is qualitatively different from rationality but is even more accurate and perceptive. It accesses deeper parts of reality. It is a highly legitimate type of intelligence a one that has to be understood in it’s own right. And by understanding it, we can begin to see that such power is not miraculous but intrinsically human and accessible to us all.”
Greene’s entire book is confidently based on the belief that obtaining mastery is possible for everybody. Masters have immersed themselves in watching and learning and doing and creating. They internalize every part and piece of the journey until they no longer see the parts. They gain an intuitive feel for the whole. This is not a fast process. Rather it happens after they’ve spent 10.000 hours or more in learning and creating and practicing. They have altered the physical aspects in the brain by making all kinds of connections. So many different connection between different things of knowledge, that they now have this beautiful special understanding of their craft. They’ve participated in years of active engaging learning. They have taken their mistakes and use them to their advantage. Understanding more about themselves and their world. They never stop learning and growing in their life’s task.
They began as apprentices then they became actively creative and then they achieved mastery.
Greene offers these final steps for progressing towards mastery.
- Be in deep and intimate with your physical environment. Be in constant awareness of what is around you.
- Know your strengths and passions and work effectively with them. You’ll be spending thousands of hours learning and developing your work. It’s crucial that you enjoy most of this time. And that you are able to engage your strengths for success.
- You must make physical contact with your work. This active learning enables you to internalize each skill until the actions become an automated part of your thinking.
- Next remember that your life’s task has a life of its own. This occurs when so much learning has been absorbed, that the reflection of it becomes an effortless process.
- Keep the big picture in mind, use strategy to direct action towards your ultimate goals.
- Continue to view the world through a variety of perspectives. Never become trapped by only considering your point of view.
- Share your knowledge as far as wide as you possible can. With the advances in tech this sharing can constitute even greater achievements by everyone.
The key take away from this book is: achieving mastery is possible for anyone who is willing to take their passions. Immerse themselves in years of apprenticeship, challenge themselves to transform their learning. Create their own identity, and they live a life that continually learns, understands and shares.
Pay attention to your passions, your strengths and your feelings of wonder in seeking your life’s task. Make the best use of every opportunity to learn and master you gifts. Be willing to spend years as an apprentice in your fields. Transform your learning and creations into mastery.
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