Sunday, April 12, 2009

Curious about Mastery: When Can We Consider Ourselves Masters? How Long and How Much Effort Does It Take?

Definition of Mastery: The position or authority of a master; dominion; command; supremacy; superiority. Contest for superiority. Specifically, the philosopher's stone. The act process of mastering; the state of having mastered.

Ah, mastery... what a profoundly satisfying feeling when one finally gets on top of a new set of skills... and then sees the light under the new door those skills can open, even as another door is closing.” - Gail Sheehy, American writer

Having a “Portfolio Career” – many careers at the same time – I have heard and been told time and again, “Jack of all trades, master of none.” Well, I disagree. I know several entrepreneurs with Portfolio Careers who are masters of many.

What does it take to become a master and have mastery over a skill? I have read that we get close to mastery when we have at least 1000 hours of experience in a skill or field. Personally, I feel it takes more that time.

To become a master – and I do feel one can be a true master of many different skills - I think that the most important ingredient is absolute passion for what you are pursuing. You love your field so much, you can’t get enough of it. You have a plethora of books and magazines on the topic. You attend workshops, seminars, teleseminars and webinars in the field. When you find them, you hang around with people who also have a passion for your field.

You are never, never bored!

Let’s see what the experts have to say:
  • The happiness of a man in this life does not consist in the absence but in the mastery of his passions.” - Alfred Lord Tennyson, English poet
  • An artist must possess Nature. He must identify himself with her rhythm, by efforts that will prepare the mastery which will later enable him to express himself in his own language.” - Henri Matisse, French artist
  • If fear is cultivated it will become stronger, if faith is cultivated it will achieve mastery.” - John Paul Jones, American soldier
  • If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn't seem so wonderful at all.” – Michelangelo, Italian artist
  • Only one who devotes himself to a cause with his whole strength and soul can be a true master. For this reason mastery demands all of a person.” - Albert Einstein, German physicist
  • Roman civilization had achieved, within the bounds of its technology, relatively as great a mastery of time and space as we have achieved today.” - Arthur Erickson, Canadian architect

And three more to make note of:

  • We talk of our mastery of nature, which sounds very grand; but the fact is we respectfully adapt ourselves, first, to her ways.” - Clarence Day, American author
  • Order and simplification are the first steps toward the mastery of a subject.” - Thomas Mann, German writer
  • With all our mastery over the powers of Nature we have adhered to the view that the struggle for existence is a permanent and necessary condition of life.” - Frederick Soddy, English scientist

So, how about you? What have you mastered and what on you working upon mastering? I would love to hear how you are doing.