There was a little boy who would always steal his father’s papers just so he could draw all kinds of things on them. From flowers to rivers and mountains, he fed his habit of drawing anything he sees around him. However, as this boy grew, he noticed that the flowers, rivers and mountains he drew were also growing along with him. Bewildered by this, he finally realized that as he constantly drew, he was unconsciously getting better and striving towards mastery.
Today, we know that little boy as Leonardo Da Vinci, one of the greatest artists of all time as he also draws with both hands simultaneously. Everyone is divinely born with a gift or talent but to attain its mastery is solely our responsibility and this can only be achieved by devoting our time and energy to developing ourselves in any chosen area.
Pablo Picasso, the legendary painter was walking in the market when he met a woman who demanded that he drew a picture of her. Instantly in about 30 seconds, he produced a masterpiece of her. While she was still in awe, he charged her 30,000 dollars. Provoked by this, she said, “how can you charge me $30,000 for something you did in only 30 seconds?”
He replied, “it took me 30 years to be able to do that in 30 seconds.” In other words, he was saying that it took him 30 years to attain mastery in his craft. Likewise, from my childhood days of scribbling quotes down, to writing love letters, text messages, facebook posts, articles and producing daily inspirational, today, I have eventually become an author of books and I am gradually edging towards mastery. Why? Because I have committed to writing every day. Hence, the lifelong process of mastering one’s craft is otherwise known as Mastery and to attain such height, the following steps are compulsory;
- SELF DISCOVERY: In every creature lies a gift which is a tool for its purpose. Birds have the potential to fly, fishes have the potential to swim, lions have the potential to lead and man too has a potential. David had singing and leadership skills and that was what made him write the book of Psalms and become the legendary King of Israel. Therefore, discovering your gift is the first step to mastery. Isaiah discovered his gift of prophecy, Gideon had inherent in him leadership skills. Thus, beyond Education, it is vital that you find your purpose and the gift that enables you achieve it because it is your gift, not your education that will make you a global icon. Find a man who is skilled and he shall stand before Kings and not mean men.
- ACQUIRE KNOWLEDGE: Without Knowledge, people perish. We live an era where knowledge is paramount and those who are ignorant live at the mercy of the knowledgeable. Someone once said, “The illiterates of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.” Solomon was blessed with wisdom but still he had to commit to personal development. Hence, whatever your field is, constant acquisition of knowledge is what will make you stand out of the crowd. If you read one book every month on the area you love, in 5 years, you will become a master at that area.
- GET A MENTOR: Isaac Newton said, “if I have seen further in life, it is by standing on the shoulder of giants.” It is foolish to decide to reinvent the wheel when others have experience life before you. Find a giant you admire or wish to replicate their exploits and have them mentor, guide and coach you. You can learn in months from a mentor what you will learn by yourself in years. Experience is the best teacher but you don’t have to learn from your own experience. Leverage on the experience of others. Moses mentored Joshua, Elijah mentored Elisha, Jesus mentored the 12 disciples, Socrates Mentored Plato and Plato mentored Aristotle.
- WALK WITH LIONS: No one can live in isolation and relationships are meant to enrich your life. It takes people of like minds working together to edify and build up one another. If you are an iron, you need iron around you to sharpen you. If you want to become a lion, surround yourself with lions because only with great people can you end up becoming great. Myles Munroe said, “Show me your friends and I will show you your future.”
- BE DISCIPLINED: Even the world most influential people have fallen because of indiscipline. Moses lost the opportunity to reach the promise land because he could not control his anger. Samson got captured because he could not control his sexual urge. Discipline in life is non-negotiable and Mastery also requires disciplines of other sorts that would build you depending on your area.
- BE FOCUSED: In time past, people died from weapons of mass destruction but these days, people are dying from weapons of mass distractions. Truly, our world is filled with distractions such as social media, side attraction and things that do not add value to our lives and only if we can set our priorities right can we achieve our primary goals. A knife cuts because of its narrow focus. So keep your eye single and light shall fill your whole body.
- PRACTICE: Most of the effort required for winning any contest takes place before the actual day of the contest. Winning today requires practicing yesterday, the day before and the day before that. Practice makes improvement. Proper practice prevents poor performance when you are called upon to display your skill. When you practice consistently, your craft becomes second nature and according to Robert Green, it takes 20,000 hours to achieve mastery. The game in which the competitor competes is only the tip of the iceberg. Most of the effort lies below the surface, out of sight. Tony Robbins said, “people are celebrated in public for what they have practiced for years in private.”
Finally, know that we all become a master at something. No matter what we do day in day out, be it positive or negative, we are gradually becoming masters at it. Whether it’s developing your craft or partying, gossiping, speaking, scamming, networking, careless living or even acquiring debts, it will eventually become your second nature. So the big question is, “My dear, what are you mastering?”