How to Master Anything
While the focus on here is normally pointed squarely at getting girls, I wanted to broaden that today to a topic that's of significant importance not only to pickup and seduction, but to anything and everything you will ever lay your hands on, set your mind to, and go about doing.
That topic, in case you only glanced over the title, is how to master... anything.
In case you're not so familiar with my "credentials" (background), I've effectively mastered:
- Music Production
- Song Writing
- Picking Up Women
- Maintaining Relationships (completely different from pickup)
- Posture / Movement / Personal Charisma
- Motivational and Inspirational Speaking
- Teaching (everything from software to seduction to high school
- Writing in General
I'm also pretty good at making crazy shots from anywhere on the basketball court, and I'm about halfway through my growth curve as an entrepreneur, Internet marketer, and business growth expert.
On several occasions, I've had people ask me how it is you stay motivated to learning something long enough to reach a pinnacle in it. Usually I brush this off, because I don't like to be seen patting my own back too much. Even in my rap days, where bravado and showing off plays a big part of the art (rap has its origins in the West African folk tradition of "men of words" talking up their successes and desirability), I never liked venturing too far into singing my own praises.
It's far better for others to sing your praises for you than for you to do it yourself. People respect this more... and you look like less of an ass.
But for the sake of this post, let's shelve the false modesty, and talk about how to master things, how to set aside the laziness that nags at us all, and how to keep yourself focused on getting something down that few people ever will.
Not Everyone is Built for Mastery
Everybody's got problems they wish they didn't have.
I'm in the self-help industry, I know. My JOB is to listen to people's problems, and, ideally, help them to solve them.
Except most people don't WANT help.
Some time ago, I realized a distinction between the kinds of people who are out there. I started telling this to anyone who brought me a problem but seemed reluctant about taking my advice or even their own if I helped them tease out what they thought they should do. The distinction is this:
“There are only two kinds of people, when it comes to problems. The people who FIX their problems, and the people who COMPLAIN about their problems.”
That's it, just those two kinds of people.
People who are "fixers" are eternally devoted to figuring out what their problems are, and solving them. They might not always tackle those problems from the right angle, and they might be guilty of deluding themselves about what those problems are at times, but you can get through to them with reason if you try hard enough. They usually are willing to set aside pride, admit that the failure is theirs, and go start learning how to fix it.
People who are "complainers" are eternally devoted to seeking emotional salves for their problems. There's a big difference between "solves" and "salves." Complainers feel bad, but they don't want to fix that feeling bad by fixing the problem. They just want someone to pat them on the back, tell them, "There, there, you're doing everything right, it's just things outside your control that made it this way," and then they'll feel better. But because the problems are never fixed, they need this forever. They spend a lifetime of people listening to their complaints, telling them it isn't their fault, and blaming the world for being an uncaring, unjust place.
Now, everybody complains. I complain. You won't see me do it on the site much, because you've got to be careful about how you present yourself in the written word as it's easily misinterpreted, especially when you've got guys coming here to learn what you're doing and absorb your characteristics. But everybody does it.
The difference between a fixer and a complainer is that a fixer then immediately says, "Okay, everything that's wrong in my life is my fault, what do I need to change to have a better life?" while a complainer NEVER says this, or says this but then doesn't take action to change anything, and simply goes on complaining forever.
I don't know how you end up as one person or the other. I don't know if it's possible for someone who's a complainer to become a fixer. I'm a big believer that you can change damn near anything about yourself that you decide to, but I have my doubts about whether it's possible for someone who doesn't really want to change to muster the energy to change into someone who wants to change.
There's an inherent "doesn't make a whole lotta sense" in there.
I've always been a fixer. I was a fixer when I was a little kid. I'm a fixer now. I went through a period of depression, and I eventually overcame that depression, because I was fixing the wrong stuff or I wasn't fixing things I needed to be, but even when I was deep in my funk I was constantly trying out different approaches to try and turn around my life.
If you're not sure if you're a complainer or a fixer, here's a quick quiz:
List your 5 biggest problems. Are these your fault or not your fault?
When something is not the way you want it (e.g., it sucks), should someone else fix that for you? Or should you fix it?
Do you repeatedly vent about the same problems over and over? What are you doing about these problems?
How often do you work on yourself, to better yourself, and improve your station in life?
If your answers were ,"my fault," "I should fix it," "not for too long; I'm doing this, this, and that," and, "all the time," congratulations, you're a fixer.
If your answers were, "look, it's NOT my fault," "he/she/other people should fix it, I'm doing everything right," "yes, but that's because these problems are awful! I'm waiting for the system to correct itself," and, "well, I'm already pretty good, so I don't need to work on myself too much," well... you know where you're at.
These two different mindsets - the fixer and the complainer - come
from an essential philosophical difference among the holders of the two
mindsets: I can't change the system,
because the system doesn't know who I am and doesn't care, I can only
change ME vs. the system should change to give me what I want because
Fixers, at their core, are people who realize that all human systems are imperfect systems cobbled together by lots of imperfect people, and you cannot control these people. Yes, maybe you did everything the system told you, and according to what you see on TV that means you SHOULD be entitled to XYZ reward... but if you aren't getting it, YOUR MENTAL MODEL OF THE SYSTEM IS WRONG.
Throw it out, and go get a correct mental model. You don't learn how
to master things when you're focused on moaning about how unfair life
There's another key difference that makes spotting a complainer easy: liberal use of the word "should."
- "People SHOULD use their turn signals more."
- "Men SHOULD pay for dates."
- "Women SHOULDN'T sleep around so much."
- "People SHOULD believe in God / evolution / the Christmas spirit / aliens / 2012."
- "People SHOULD respect marriage more."
- "The courts SHOULDN'T be so harsh to men in divorces."
- "Men SHOULDN'T cheat so much in relationships."
- "Women SHOULDN'T cheat so much in relationships."
- "The airports SHOULDN'T have such ridiculous security procedures."
- "People SHOULD say 'please' and 'thank you' more."
... and so on, and so forth.
Complainers "should," left and right. It bespeaks an inherent flaw in how they view the world:
They want other people to do what THEY want them to do!
They don't view it this way, of course. They view the world as having certain "right" ways of doing things, and believe that everyone else shares this intrinsic view of how the world "should" be.
So, other people not doing what they "should" be are an annoyance and a bother. These people are the cause of all the woes of the complainer.
How's it look to a fixer, though?
To a fixer, people are the way they are and they CANNOT be changed.
Meet a girl who likes sleeping around, but you really want a girl who's committed to you? Don't date the girl who likes sleeping around! She'll make you miserable, and you'll make her miserable. You won't change her. Find a girl who fits your criteria.
Same goes for the girls who meet guys who are not husband material in the slightest, and the girls try to shoehorn these guys into their marriage fantasies. You'll never meet a more bitter complainer than the girl with dreams of a perfect marriage dashed by her knave and often MIA husband.
To be a fixer, you must relinquish the star-crossed determination to change everyone and everything around you to do your bidding, and instead accept that every other human being on Earth and every human system you are not a president or a CEO of or have friends in important places in is outside of your control. He or she or it might do what you want... but he or she or it equally might do the exact opposite.
The only thing you truly control is YOU.
So instead of spending your time ranting about how you think the world ought to be, you spend your time perfecting your ability to get the things you want and work within the way the world already is.
The Fixer's Cross
As a fixer, you admit that you will never be good enough.
There are always going to be things you want that you cannot have, no matter how good you get at anything.
Become the best in the world at making deals, and there will always be that elusive better deal you aren't quite able to reach.
Become the best novelist in the world, and you will always think you could've done yourself just one better had you had a somewhat better grasp of the things you know now when you wrote your magnum opus.
Become a great leader of a business or a country or even a small club of people somewhere, and you will always know you could've done it a bit better or taken it to slightly higher heights.
But this does not speak to weakness in you. Rather, it speaks to the drive to master.
To learn how to master anything, you must want to make things better, and you must believe that you, through personal refinement and betterment, are the key to that.
I may not be able to control another person, but I can control my ability to inspire specific emotions in her, to make her feel certain things, and to bring a level of value to her life that she can't realistically get anywhere other than me.
I may not be able to control whether someone wants what I have for sale, but I can put out the best products I possibly can, learn how to make ever-greater ones, and market the hell out of them to get them in front of as many people as possible and make it clear what my products can do for them.
I may not be able to control the government and social situations operating around me, but I can build up my financial resources, social capital, and ability to navigate tricky and high-pressure situations to learn how to come out on top whenever unexpected things happen or suddenly I find myself confronted with unforeseen or uncomfortable circumstances.
This is the cross the fixer must bear: the cross of learning how to master the various aspects of his life he needs to be able to exert the influence he'd like to influence to make things more likely to go his way.
Unlike complainers, you can't just do what you think you're supposed to do and hope the system will take care of you. It won't. The more trust you place in systems you did not build and do not control to deliver you what you want, the more you are going to be disappointed.
You must lift yourself up by the bootstraps, and fight on.
The Will to Master Anything: You
Must Be Mad
If it was easy to become a master at something, we'd have a lot less reverence for the masters.
Where does someone get the desire to drag themselves through endless amounts of failure, heartache, and inertia to become truly great at something?
I've talked about this fairly in-depth with a number of other ambitious friends, and I think the first thing you've got to be is you've basically got to be a little bit crazy.
There's a fascinating personality disorder test available online here:
Now, I don't know how accurate this is, so don't go making any major
life decisions off of what you find here, but it seems to be relatively
accurate to me.
A bunch of my friends and I have all taken it. And you know what we found?
We're all crazy. All of us.
Every single one of us can tick off multiple boxes on the personality disorder list.
Now, it could be that crazy people like me just have other crazy friends. But I think there's something else at play here, too.
I only have as my close friends driven, ambitious, charismatic people who are highly self-improvement oriented and work constantly on upgrading themselves in all kinds of different areas in their lives.
And I just don't think you have the motivation to do this if you don't have issues.
Do you think there's ever been a president, or a premier, or an emperor, or a king who wasn't a little bit narcissistic?
Or a writer, or showman, or celebrity, or television personality who scored "low" on histrionic?
I doubt it.
I honestly don't think normal people ever get the desire to become masters of anything, because they're happy living normal lives.
The more I study the things psychology considers "disorders," the more I tend to think that these "disorders" are a fundamental discontent with the status quo. Either a lack of faith in it entirely (e.g., people who are paranoid) or a desire to ignore it (e.g., schizoid and schizotypal) or to bend it to one's will (e.g., borderlines and histrionics and narcissists).
Sometimes these can really become problematic. But sometimes they
can be channeled into something more.
When it comes to normality, riddle me this... can you imagine a normal, ordinary person with no personality issues who's happy living an ordinary life with an ordinary job and an ordinary spouse and ordinary kids in an ordinary house in an ordinary town out there obsessively working on mastering something, day in and day out, one day after another after another?
Yeah, I can't either.
So, for me, if you want to know how to master something, I think the first thing you've got to be is a little (or a lot) crazy. As I said to one guy I know who scored "High," "Very High," or "Moderate" on every item on that list above, "It's either madness or greatness for you, my friend."
The Will to Master Anything: You Must Be Clear
The other part of the equation of the "drive" factor, I think, is a certain clarity on what exactly it is you're trying to master, and how you're going to go about it.
It's impossible to get excited about vague goals and objectives, but that's how a lot of people try to plan out their lives.
Let's say you're crazy enough to decide you want to learn how to master something like picking up women or getting good at running your own business or playing an instrument or being charismatic or speaking publically or throwing javelins or ANYTHING, really.
And let's say you start setting vague goals. "I'm just going to go get good at this!"
Not gonna happen.
You need specific goals, and they need to be motivating goals.
For me, when I started in sales, it was in the same store as and right next to the guy who was the #1 salesman in the district. He was a short, chubby Puerto Rican guy with a million-watt smile and an easy belly laugh who'd been selling for years, he was incredibly charismatic, and he repeatedly slept with women taller than him, whiter than him, and prettier than him, and he could sell anything to anyone.
My goal, as a socially-stunted 18 year old who had zero friends, who women said looked like he had "bad intentions," and who didn't know how to have a conversation with anyone, was to become a better salesman than that guy. I wanted to outsell the district's #1 salesman.
And eventually I did.
But before I reached to that point, I spent countless hours modeling myself after him, learning the ins and outs of the product, trying and testing and refining my selling approach, and figuring out how to do what that ace salesman seemed to do with so much natural ease.
It wasn't easy.
I struggled with wanting to quit, and there were various times I looked at my own abilities and said to myself, "I just don't think I can do this," or, "I'm just not making any progress."
And you know what the funny thing is? Every single thing I've gotten really good at went exactly the same way. They all mostly followed this pattern:
- Find a role model who's mastered something you want to master
- Make it up in your mind to become like and exceed that role model
- Study everything you can about the art, and that guy in particular
- Become religiously devoted to breaking down the mechanics and learning them
- Practice, practice, practice - deliberate practice targeted at weaknesses
Sometimes those models were people I knew personally; sometimes they were people I watched and analyzed and consumed volumes of information on from a distance (Tupac in songwriting and performing; Steve Jobs in business building). Occasionally I went without a role model if I had a really strong mental picture of where I was trying to get to (like with relationships; I have my own model there that I haven't seen anyone else do), but normally there was a clear model I aspired to emulate.
The next step is something upon which there's a fantastic book on it here:
Talent is Overrated, by Geoff Colvin, senior editor of Fortune Magazine.
The book's based on a Harvard
Business Review paper from July 2007 called "The Making
of an Expert," and both the book and the paper focus on something
practice." (that's a Wikipedia link there) Malcolm Gladwell's
exceptional book Outliers talks a lot about this
What's deliberate practice?
It is a focused, determined practice targeting your weaknesses and shortcomings in a given area, with the objective of turning those weaknesses into competencies and strengths.
There's the old Bruce Lee quote that comes into relevance here:
“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”
What Bruce Lee is talking about in this quote is the matter of deliberate practice: practicing something until you have achieve mastery.
He's also contrasting the man who practices deliberately with the man who practices without direction.
In Talent is Overrated, a fantastic example is cited of how auditors who've been doing their job for 40 years make more mistakes than auditors who've been doing their job for 3 or 4 years. The question is posed, if practice makes perfect, why do the people with 40 years on the job perform worse than the people with 4?
The answer, of course, is a lack of deliberate practice. Because they're not devotedly working on shoring up their weaknesses and upgrading their aptitudes - instead, they're rather repeating the same dull tasks again and again without engagement or passion or a dedication to perfecting a specific skill - they don't get any better, and in fact get bored and lose focus and perform worse.
This kind of unfocused, directionless practice is how most people approach skill-building (or their jobs). They just do a bunch of stuff with no mind to what the end result is or what specifically they're trying to accomplish.
So they don't improve.
If you practice 1,000 free throws in basketball over the course of 2 weeks, will you be better at free throws than a guy who's performed 1,000 free throws over the course of 30 years?
Of course. You're letting your brain analyze your movements and success rates in succession over a period of time where it's close enough that you have repeated data points the brain can analyze and make connections over. That guy who did the same number of free throws over 30 years is probably only marginally better now than he was 30 years ago, because there's too much time between each data point and too much variation (his strength, weight, stamina changing as he ages) to get clean data.
Your brain is a pattern-recognition engine that forms patterns and learns on autopilot, if you provide it with the right data in the right circumstances.
Most people say, "Okay, I'm going to learn chess," and then they proceed to try a whole bunch of different crazy things and their brains can't make sense of any of it and they get no better.
Then they throw up their hands and say, "Okay, I give up. Chess is too hard."
But if you want to learn chess - to really learn chess - you don't try a whole bunch of different crazy things all at once.
Instead, you practice learning different moves, over and over.
You practice doing the same opening move over and over again until you've got it down and know its nuances. You do the Ruy Lopez for 2 weeks or 3 weeks or a month until you've seen most of the usual ways it turns out. Then you open with the Sicilian Defense over and over again until your brain has it down pat and is able to know exactly how things are likely to go based on what your opponent does at each stage of the game.
That's how you learn. Not by doing haphazard, willy-nilly, "let's throw a lot of stuff at the wall and see what sticks" type approaches.
You learn by repeatedly, deliberately practicing the same things again and again until you've got them down pat, and then moving onto the next weakness in your game you need to shore up.
That's deliberate practice.
The reason why someone who's mastered something appears to do everything effortlessly and intuitively is because he's gone through it enough times and his brain has analyzed and put together enough patterns that he's able to tap that information intuitively and act accordingly.
To quote that Harvard Business Review paper:
“Intuition can lead you down the garden path. The idea that you can improve your performance by relaxing and “just trusting your gut” is popular. While it may be true that intuition is valuable in routine or familiar situations, informed intuition is the result of deliberate practice. You cannot consistently improve your ability to make decisions (or your intuition) without considerable practice, reﬂection, and analysis.”
You form a master's intuition through repeated exposure to similar experiences again and again and giving your brain the ability to build the mental models of those situations that allow you to have an intuition to tap, not by it already being preprogrammed in.
You must expose yourself to something, day in and day out, practicing deliberately. And to do that - one of the most important elements in figuring out how to master anything - you must have a clear idea of where your weaknesses are and what you need to get down.
You've got to know what you're getting wrong and where you want to
start fixing it.
It's Not the Instance, It's the Skill
One of the things that happens as you transition from "beginner" to "intermediate" in mastering any new skill is a relinquishing of your emotional connection to the outcome of any one instance and a transference of that emotional connection to the skill itself.
Early on when you're trying to learn how to get good with women, for instance, you'll feel like getting one specific girl is a life-or-death matter. That's why I wrote "Can't Stop Thinking About Her? Here's Why You Need to Meet More Girls." To this day, a good chunk of the things we get here from guys via email, comments, and elsewhere comes down to, "There's this girl and I love her and I HAVE to get her, what do I do?"
When you're new to learning something, the specific instance feels all-important.
- You meet a girl, and you get really upset if you don't get her
- You play a game of chess or basketball, and you get really upset if you don't win
- You're talking to a customer, and you get really upset if you don't make a sale
- You're making a piece of art, and you get really upset if it doesn't turn out well
Stuff like that.
And I think that's unavoidable. When you're inexperienced in something - whatever it is - your brain is trapped in a scarcity mentality. Basically, whatever it is feels like a scarce resource, and therefore life or death.
But as you go through more and more of the same situation, and especially once you start seeing success and recognizing improvement in yourself (which sometimes can take a little while), your brain starts to relax. "Things aren't so bad," your brain starts to say. "We're figuring out how to master this; we'll get this down. Now let's work on our weak spots."
This is the point where the game "starts slowing down," as the players talk about in American football as they're going into their second year. This is where you've got the initial patterns down enough that your emotions get out of the way and you can start seeing the different elements of your own game and recognizing what you're doing right and where you need work.
The transition from beginner to intermediate is when you hit the point where the individual instance doesn't seem all that important anymore, and the most important thing is simply getting better at the skill.
Where you get upset as an intermediate is where you keep seeing the same mistake happening again and again. You keep losing girls at the point where you go to ask them home with you, for instance, or you keep misfiring in business when you run out of funds, or you keep getting checkmated in chess when you advance too quickly.
Those are the points you get upset at, so you go back and analyze and figure out what's going wrong and start making tweaks. You keep practicing, and even zero in on that specific area.
"I'm going to start asking every girl I can to come home with me within 20 minutes of meeting her," you say, "so I can get more data points and see what I'm doing wrong and force myself to get better."
Or, "I'm going to play things more conservatively and limit my spending, and see if I can do the same thing with less," you say.
Or, "I'm going to continue playing aggressively, but I'm going to make a mental note to keep an eye on my king and make sure he's covered."
And in so doing, you progress.
How to Master Anything
So let's say you have the necessary components for mastery. You're certifiably insane, like all of my friends and I are, and you know, very clearly, exactly where you want to get to: you've got a clear goalpost in mind and you're ready and willing to bust your butt to get there.
How do you, you know, actually do it?
Well, here's how to master whatever you want; these are the steps I follow, and the ones that everyone I know who's mastered anything has followed too.
Know you want the skill first. When I first set out to learn how to get better with women, it was because there was one girl I wanted, but I realized I was never going to get her until I got good with girls. So I set out to go practice. I didn't start getting better with women until I moved my focus off the one specific girl and onto the skill overall.
I'd still meet girls once I was practicing that I wanted a lot, but the main focus was on developing the skill. It was the same for me in music, in sales, and everything else. I wanted to get good, and then I knew I could have as much success as I wanted.
Start practicing, and practice a lot. Hands down the best way to learn anything is on the job. If you can get paid to do it, get paid to do it, because you'll have the added motivation of having to get good at it to keep collecting a paycheck. It was that way for me in sales, and it's that way for me in business now.
If you can't get paid to do it, that's okay too, but you've got to be practicing religiously. What helped for me early on in pickup was scheduling it in; that way, even if I didn't want to go out, I knew that it was already on my schedule and I had to go out and go meet girls and work on game. For basketball, I'd make myself go out; same with music. Once you start getting better though, it becomes something of an obsession to work on that thing you're working on, and you don't need nearly as much prompting.
Analyze, analyze, analyze. I amaze people these days with my ability to look at almost any situation or any thing and immediately deconstruct down to its component parts and tell them how it works and why. I get called brilliant, a genius, incredibly bright. But it's a skill I've only had since I started skill-building, and it was a sort of bonus side-effect of the analysis that went into learning how to master various different things.
When you start building a skill, it's vital that you go back and analyze how things went. Why did that song not turn out so great? Why did that customer walk out without buying anything? Why did that girl not want to give you her phone number? Why did that deal not go through? You cannot blame other people or circumstances. If you do, you won't get better. You need to figure out where you were at fault, and how you could have played that hand differently. It's the only way you get better.
I highly recommend keeping a journal or a record of events (or writing field reports and analyzing your mistakes in the report, if you're learning how to get girls), which forces you to think through what happened, remember it, and parse it for lessons. (We're launching a new forum on here soon, and I'd be thrilled to have you and would invite you to join up and do that here)
Target your weak spots. Where are you consistently losing? What's holding you back? Figure those out, and then figure out something new you can try out or work on getting down to combat that. If you're finding people aren't very engaged by your writing, perhaps you could use more suspense and intrigue - start writing some cliffhangers into your stuff. Stephen King and Malcolm Gladwell are both masters at this, in very different ways - maybe you could study them. If you're finding women keep telling you they've got to go meet their friends, maybe you aren't getting them committed fast enough - start figuring out ways to ask for compliance and investment.
As you go through and target these various areas for improvement, it helps greatly to set goals. Specific goals, especially. Whatever your weakness is, set a goal and then go hit it. If your hook shot isn't cutting it in basketball, set a goal that you're going to go out to practice and you're not coming back in until you hit 30 hook shots. And then once your hook shot is good, go practice it again tomorrow and hit 40 of them.
Obsess over it. Obsessive-compulsive disorder is an increasingly common problem in the West, but there might be a good reason for that: some researchers think that the obsessive's perfectionist inclination helps in mastering skills and climbing to pinnacles in chosen fields. As a teenager, I had to fight off a compulsive need to have things exactly as I wanted them, and the obsessive thought cycles I locked myself into were the source of the depression that almost cost me my life and that I had to fight valiantly to overcome. But the upside of obsessive tendencies is this: once you lock onto mastering a skill, you don't let up until you've achieved perfection in each of the areas of that skill that you target.
Now, I don't know how you mimic the obsessive's devotion without those inclinations, but I've seen a lot of friends without obsessive-compulsive tendencies who climbed to high heights in their skill areas regardless. But in pursuit of those heights, they nevertheless displayed near-obsessive tendencies. You must be thinking about your skill all the time; it must consume you. You need to make it your passion, and fully immerse yourself in it. Only when your mind comes to it again and again do you start devoting the mental cycles you need to really learn how to tear things down to their basics and do the heavy mental computing you need to be truly effective in your analyses.
Start teaching it. Teaching is another way that you get your brain to devote a lot of time to parsing and analyzing your data points, but you need to actually have a lot of data points. In pickup, we call the guys who try to teach and espouse knowledge on things they don't have much experience on keyboard jockeys, because they're guys who act like they know they're stuff when they're really just passing off guesswork for expertise. Don't be that guy.
The secret to being a great teacher is part being able to analyze others' mistakes, part being able to relate anecdotes, and part being able to perform. You need all three, and you don't get them without heavy field experience. But the more you go out, the more you can teach, and if you want to achieve excellence, teaching can act as impetus both to perform more (e.g., demonstrations) and to analyze more (of both your own successes and others' failures).
Immerse yourself in a supportive environment. Tiger Woods, Michael Jackson, Mozart. What'd they all have in common? Well, for one, they started learning their trades between ages 2 and 3. And for another, they all came from incredibly supportive environments.
I don't care who you are or what you're trying to learn, if everyone around you is against you and telling you you can't do it and nobody's supporting you, you will, at some point, throw your hands up and throw the towel in and give up the ghost. If you don't think the people around you right now will support whatever it is you're trying to master, don't tell them - it's better to have no support than anti-support - but do seek out a group of likeminded people you can talk to, share ideas with, and draw motivation from. You need this to truly reach anything approximating impressive heights.
Seek out mentors. I stressed this recently with a guy whom I had mentored, when he'd been asking me about ways he could improve himself in various avenues, including his career. Finding good mentors is vitally important as you progress in anything.
The challenge with finding a mentor, of course, is that you've got to provide some kind of value back to that mentor, and you've got to make it easy for him to mentor you - essentially, you've got to go play in his playground. If you think Donald Trump is going to mentor you in business because you shot him an email telling him what a big fan of his you are, you've got a lot to learn about attracting mentors.
You'll find that mentors are most drawn to a capable, promising-seeming student who's eager to learn and quickly puts into practice the mentor's suggestions and reports back on his results. You've got to be free of ego; if you're competing with your mentor to show him you're superior to him, he'll lose interest in the relationship quick. Rather, you've got to be giving him the rewarding feeling of being able to nurture and help grow someone with tons of potential.
And you've got to find ways to make it a natural relationship; I haven't seen too many scenarios where a guy's chased down someone he wanted as a mentor and successfully got him. The guys you want as mentors already have hundreds or thousands or millions of other people chasing after them to be mentors; you don't get them by jumping on the bandwagon. You find some way to bring yourself naturally into the mentor's circle, and provide so much value to him that he wants to take you under his wing.
I'm sure that seems like a lot, and it might be a tall order. But mastery, while uncommon, is not so rare that you can't find examples of others who've mastered whatever it is you want to master.
You can. There are examples everywhere. Mastery is something that's becoming more and more common as knowledge explodes all over the world and more and more people start unlocking the keys to the process of how to master whatever it is they want to master.
You might've read this article and thought to yourself, "I am WAY too happy just living a normal life to worry about all this mastery malarkey." In which case, I envy you, in a way. To not be burdened with demons driving you is, perhaps, a certain kind of freedom in its own right.
Or you might've read this article and thought to yourself, "Why should *I* have to change? It's all those other people who don't get it who are the problem!" If that's the case, I actually don't have any envy there, because that's a very frustrating and inevitably unfulfilling life path to end up on - the world and all its inhabitants are never going to stop doing things the way they do them and start doing them a totally different way simply to satisfy the desires of one disgruntled citizen.
But you might just have read this article and thought to yourself, "This is EXACTLY what I want to be doing with...!"
And if that's the case, well... that's why I wrote it.
Talk with you next time.
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