Mastery By George Leonard – Top 10 Ideas
MASTERY BY GEORGE LEONARD SUMMARY REVIEW AND QUOTES
1. MASTERY IS AVAILABLE TO ANYONE
The harsh truth is that although anybody can achieve mastery in any field, there is a high price to pay, and almost nobody is willing to do so. When I used to see someone astonishingly successful, I just thought it was due to luck or talent. It never occurred to me that behind what I was seeing, there could be endless hours of practice, sacrifice, trial-and-error, setbacks, and for athletes, the chance of having to face many injuries.
It’s easy for everybody to explain success by saying that the successful person is a genius, that they just got it easier than everyone else, simply because admitting that a master is just a normal person would mean that you could as well be the same but are not doing anything with your life. You wasted half of your time, or even worse, all of it, jumping from one interest to another, never accomplishing more than average results, not being able to push it harder to get on the other side of the plateau.
How many hobbies have you and I tried and changed? Just because, after a while, we got frustrated by not getting quick and fast results, hoping to become the next Jimi Hendrix after a week of playing the guitar. Admitting to ourselves that we could have become successful by just spending time on the path of mastery is hard because it means we are not different from “talented people.” So, most of us prefer not to see the bigger picture but choose to go for the safe and lazy explication of saying that successful people are lucky.
Research have shown that, on average, a master has to spend ten thousand hours of practice before reaching a top level! Can you imagine yourself doing so?
“Mastery isn’t reserved for the super talented or even for those who are fortunate enough to have gotten an early start. It’s available to anyone who is willing to get on the path and stay on it- regardless of age, sex, or previous experience.”
2. THE MAGIC PILL
Look everywhere around you, and you will find misleading ideas on how to become successful. Today the magic pill is sold everywhere; from the spot on TV to the appealing title of a book that promises deep changes with five minutes per day. Would you imagine someone buying a magazine about getting back in shape, claiming that to become fit, you will have to work hard, sweat a lot and take control of your diet? Truth doesn’t sell, and the marketing industry knows it perfectly. So, to keep up the sales figures, they sell us the quick fix, and we buy it. Few people when looking at a real master are able to see that behind his incredible success, there is practice, commitment, surrender, and love for the art. The average person will not be able to process all of this.
“The modern world can be viewed as a prodigious conspiracy against mastery. We’re continually bombarded with promises of immediate gratification, instant success, and fast, temporary relief, all of which lead in exactly the wrong direction.”
3. THE PLATEAU
The plateau is a period of time in which, apparently, you seem to make no improvement. The path to mastery is endless and full of plateaus, but the difference between the master and the novice is in the awareness of it.
“There’s a seemingly endless road ahead of you with numerous setbacks along the way and –most important- plenty of time on the plateau, where long hours of diligent practice gain you no apparent progress at all. ”
4. FOLLOW YOUR PASSION
Why should you spend so much time on an endless path? Well, my suggestion is that you choose something that you love doing, something for which you will be willing to sacrifice a big part of your life. And in the end why not? What else should you do in your life that is more important than following your dreams and passions? When I was younger, it never occurred to me that I could do something just for the joy of doing it. Everyone that stays on the path for the long term has to learn to love the process.
“To love the plateau is to love the eternal now, to enjoy the inevitable spurts of progress and the fruits of accomplishment, then serenely to accept the new plateau that waits just beyond them. To love the plateau is to love what is most essential and enduring in your life”
To become a master, you have to learn to become a marathon runner. Most of us right now are sprinters that end the run after the first meters.
Cristiano Ronaldo is known to stay on the pitch training by himself when his teammates are already taking a shower. If one of the best football players in the world can do it, why not you and me?
“How do you best move toward mastery? To put it simply, you practice diligently, but you practice primarily for the sake of practice itself.”
6. FIND JOY IN REPETITION
In my experience with flair bartending, I had to learn it on my own skin. Not being really coordinated by nature, I was spending hours and hours of training just to be able to perform one single movement, and that’s how I learned to lose myself in the process.
“Satisfaction lies in mindful repetition, the discovery of endless richness in subtle variations on familiar themes.”
7. SELF SABOTAGE
When someone says “I want to be successful” is lying. On a surface level, it could appear to be true, but on a deeper level, that’s really the last thing they want; change means new, and people are afraid of the unknown. Your brain doesn’t really care if you are successful or not, all that matters is that you are still alive. So, when starting on your path, be aware of your own self-sabotage in changing things.
“Homeostasis, remember, doesn’t distinguish between what you would call change for the better and change for the worse. It resists all change.”
8. CHOOSE YOUR INFLUENCES
During the years, you will have to say goodbye to people that are not supporting you to become the best version of yourself. At times, it can be hard to let behind your old friends. However, starting friendships with people with the same passion and commitment is something necessary for your development. You are the average of the five people you spend time with. Start being aware of the influence, positive or negative, that people have on you.
“Bear in mind that an entire system has to change when any part of it changes so don’t be surprised if some of the people you love start covertly or overtly undermining your self-improvement. It’s not that they wish you harm is just homeostasis at work.”
When I was younger, I used to spend days thinking about what was the best option, constantly changing my mind about it, then I would start getting depressed because I didn’t really know what to do. In reality, every one of us, deep down, knows exactly what is the right thing to do, but fear is preventing us from acting because most of the time, the right thing to do is the hardest to do. What if we could do what is needed without the endless and useless thought pattern that leads us nowhere?
“Indecision leads to inaction, which leads to low energy, depression, despair.”
10. FAILURE IS PART OF THE PROCESS
What you would call a big problem at the beginning of your journey towards mastery will become something to laugh about if it occurs again just a few years later. Falling is part of the process, every time you fall you will get back up stronger than before. That is why whenever a challenge occurs to me, I always perceive it as if it is helping me to move forward on my journey towards the best version of myself.
“There will be moments on the path, no matter how skillful and well-balanced you might be, when you will be knocked out of center.”
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