What is it about people that have mastered something? Whether that is mastery of a particular sport, a meditation technique or a particular skill set?
I believe anyone of sound mind and body can master anything they want.
Think of people who have mastered an area. People like Donald Bradman in cricket, Claude Monet in painting, Tony Robbins in Neuro Associative Conditioning, Mother Teresa in compassion, Thomas Edison in inventing, Alexander the Great in leading an army.
What is it that sets them apart from us mere mortals?
Why is it that two people grow up together, go to school and university together and one becomes the master novelist Stephen King and the other becomes merely “good” at what he or she does?
Focus is the key to mastery.
Focus was the key that unlocked their undoubtable talent.
For the purpose of this discussion, there are two levels of focus, leading to the two levels of mastery.
The levels of mastery are the mastery of one discipline and the mastery of multiple disciplines. I’ll just talk about the mastery of one discipline today and leave the other for another time.
The levels of focus then are focus on the one discipline until it is mastered and total focus of one’s life to achieving mastery.
Donald Bradman became the greatest cricket batsman to have ever lived because he chose to master the discipline of batting over his blossoming professional tennis career. He focused the majority of his time on perfecting his batting technique.
Look at what separates the professional sportsman from the social sportsman. It is dedication of their life to the mastery of that sport. A dedication requiring focus.
It’s fine to try different things until you find that one thing that combines your talent, passion and enjoyment. But once you find that one thing, focus on that one thing and ignore all the other distracting possibilities until you have achieved mastery.
Focus is what compels someone to choose training over watching tv. Focus makes one eliminate worthy uses of one’s time in order to devote greater time to that “one thing”.
Focus is not the be all and end all. It isn’t the sole reason one person becomes a master and another becomes an “also ran”. But it is the key without which the rest is impossible.
Look at your own life. Are you making the best use of your time? If you’re still young (and by that I mean still in high school!), try out lots of different avenues. Try different sports, different musical instruments, different subjects at school. You’re at the stage of deciding what to focus on.
If you’re a little older – have you decided what to focus your life on? What are you going to become a master of?
Are you going to be a master entrepreneur, coming up with brilliant ideas and building successful businesses around them?
Will you be a master parent, having a great relationship with your children, passing on your values to them and empowering them to be successful in their chosen fields?
Will you master a sport? Soccer, basketball, football, cricket? Which one? Even if you believe you don’t have the talent to be a professional sportsman, will you change your training and workout regime to maximize your ability in that sport?
If you are an employee, will you focus on mastery in that industry? If so, what will that look like? Surely you won’t be taking unnecessarily long lunch breaks or doing the barest minimum of work to not get fired. You wouldn’t be goofing off on facebook or playing solitaire in the time devoted to mastery of that job (a time also known as “work hours”).
How will a focus on mastery change your life?