Mastery as defined by Daniel H. Pink in DRIVE is the desire to get better and better at something. Therefore, Mastery is a process that one has to be motivated to engage in during their life. Since there will never be a point in our existence during which we’ll be perfect at anything the process of Mastery is never ending like that song they used to sing at the end of Lamb Chop’s Play- Along (I know, now it is in your head. You’re welcome!).
Not everyone feels the way that Daniel and I do about Mastery. I learned that this weekend but I’m not budging. If there was a point at which we could master things then I feel like we’d abandon our capacity for learning more often than we should and that, in my humble opinion, is super dangerous.
Pink says that Mastery is three things:
1. A mindset.
2. A pain.
3. An asymptote.
1. You have to believe that you can actually increase your intellect and talent. You must have a growth mindset. “I can learn.” Some people feel that they were born with all of the capacity they will ever have while others feel that practicing and working hard can increase their strength in a given area or in performing a certain task.
2. It is really hard to master something. It takes all of your resources. Depending on what it is, it might actually take your blood, sweat, and tears. If you think about someone you call “The Best”, think about all they must have gone through to deserve that title. Think about how many times they must have failed along the way and still they work to achieve. This takes a lot of courage. It is brave.
3. Uh, so I forgot what this was because I have suppressed everything I learned in math class due to PTSD. Kidding, but really, I don’t do the math. The a-word is a straight line that a curve approaches but never quite reaches. In essence, mastery plays hard to get with us all. We can get real close but never actually achieve it. I mean, we’re pretty good at chasing things we can’t have, right?
Mastery is a motivator. We want to get better at things. When we see that we’re making progress we want to get even better. This cycle goes on and on and on and on…till the break of dawn?! Okay, perhaps but I mean I wouldn’t recommend pulling all-nighters on a regular basis. However, do you.
“We fail to realize that mastery is not about perfection. It’s about a process, a journey. The master is the one who stays on the path day after day, year after year. The master is the one who is willing to try, and fail, and try again, for as long as he or she lives.” -George Bernard Shaw
It’s hard to stay invested in something if no matter how hard you work you don’t feel like you’re making progress. The harder thing is feeling forced to do something in which you don’t really care to pursue mastery. If you don’t really care about making progress then you probably won’t deliver your A-Game or even your B-Game and I mean, please don’t subject anyone to your C-Game.
There are a few things on my “I’d Really Love To Get Better at This List”:
These are the things that I’m actually investing effort into Mastering…there are a ton of other things I SHOULD be working on but to be honest I don’t genuinely want to. I’m still figuring out how to be an adult. Budgeting, supervision, having tact, romantic relationships/dating–like actually going on one…the little things ;). Gotta find that motivation–perhaps the next time a cat sets up shop on my doormat that’ll do the trick.
What are you attempting to Master these days?
Do you believe that Mastery can actually be achieved?
Oh, and read DRIVE. It is pretty great.