Summary: The 4 keys to developing mastery in anything are discussed. These keys provide the thinking and approach needed in order to excel in that which you love to do in life. These are the factors that have helped me in developing my expertise in meditation and yoga, and I would like to share them with you, so that you may also master that which you are passionate about.
How to Master Anything
What are the keys to developing Mastery? It could be mastery of meditation, yoga, zen or it could be mastery of any other field of your choosing, it does not matter. There are certain common factors in becoming a master and I want to share the top 4 factors, I have found to be key in developing such excellence.
1. Give Your Life to Something:
This is another way of saying, don’t be a jack of all trades and king of none. If you really want to excel in life, find your true passion and pour yourself into it. There are several articles on Mastery of Meditation that will help you determine your true passion in life, such as Stop the Madness of Self-Discipline and The Secret on How to Become an Early Riser, and once you determine what it is you love to do, give your life to it.
There may be many things you enjoy doing, and you will probably still be able to participate in them in some capacity, but if you wish to master one thing, I assure you, you will have to sacrifice some of these activities. So focus on the thing you really love to do and find out exactly how well you can do it. You may surprise yourself :-).
This is also the only way to not have any regrets in life. You may win recognition, you may obtain material success as a result of your dedication, or you may not, but, when all is said and done, you will know deep in your heart that you gave life all you had and nothing more can really be asked of you.
2. Break Mood Based Decisions:
Most of the necessary discipline for mastery will come naturally, born out of your passion for the thing you are doing. The best analogy of this self emerging discipline, is that it is like a river carving its own banks. The flow and power of the river generates the necessary channel for it to then flow. In a similar way your passion will generate the necessary discipline within which to excel. That being said, moods will still certainly pose a challenge to you.
Breaking mood based decisions, means being able to turn off the TV at 9:52 pm right before the detectives of Law & Order SVU reveal who is responsible for the homicide. In fact, I like to measure my attachments sometimes by doing precisely that. Turn it off, if that is what your path to mastery requires you to do.
In the same vein, sit in meditation or write your next chapter even when you don’t feel like it. I think this is why monasteries are so successful in helping aspirants in their spiritual evolution. You have to do what you have to do, regardless of how you happen to feel about it at that particular time. This is the key to consistency, which is a cornerstone of developing mastery of anything.
Once you develop this strength, to not make your decisions solely on the pleasure principle, your life will become available to you as a tapestry to paint your masterpiece on.
3. Don’t Concentrate on Results:
Once you know what you truly love to do – that’s it, the hard part is done. Now just concentrate on doing that particular thing as well as you can. Don’t worry about the results, just worry about excelling in it to the best of your ability.
So, if you love to write, just write, don’t worry about selling a million copies. If you like to dance, then dance. Broadway will come knocking when it’s time.
Concentrating on the results, which are really not in your hands in the first place, can be a demoralizing and distracting factor. If they don’t come fast enough, you may hang up the hat, and if you are driven by them, you may adjust your art to commercialization pressures. So, instead forget about results and focus on just doing, just marching on.
4. Don’t Worry About Survival:
This, I know is easier said than done. What I want to clarify before I delve into this key factor, is that I am not encouraging you to drop out of school, quit your job, dump your family or run away to the Himalayas. There is usually never a need to make such drastic changes and these changes are usually just romantic ideas. Having said that, mastery may certainly require you to take some risks, make some changes and show some courage.
Hopefully, you are lucky enough to figure out your true passions early in life. If you do that, then let them guide you in choosing the commitments you make in life. Once you make commitments, it is difficult to get out of them, so make them carefully. For example, a million dollar home sounds like a nice idea, but often it becomes a financial liability that limits your decision making. On a side note, there is no problem with having a million dollar home, the problem is if you are attached to it.
So you will have to show some courage, some guts, some valor in order to master the art of your choosing. Trust that life will be there to take care of you and go for it.
So there you have the 4 keys to mastering anything. Give you life to it, be free of the pleasure/pain principle, drop results oriented thinking and show some heart. It is said that Einstein was working on his equations, even as he lay on his death bed in the hospital. That is passion, and that’s what it takes to be a master.