What is Mastery?

“Everyone holds his fortune in his own hands, like a sculptor the raw material he will fashion into a figure. But it’s the same with that type of artistic activity as with all others: We are merely born with the capability to do it. The skill to mold the material into what we want must be learned and attentively cultivated.”

JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE (in the book MASTERY of Robert Greene)

Mastery consists of 3 important elements:

Focus on having an impact

You have been given a set of talents. Things that you like and that you can be good at. This does not happen automatically. Only by constantly applying and developing these talents you can perform and set results. The longer you do this, the better you become. If you do this long enough you may reach a level of mastery. At this level you have surpassed the level of expert and more intuition and wisdom is integrated. By developing towards mastery you aim at having an impact that matters, that goes beyond yourself. By constantly applying and developing your mastery you aim at doing something that is meaningful. As Robert Greene calls it: “You possess a kind of inner force that seeks to guide you towards your Life’s Task-what you are meant to accomplish in the time that you have to live”.

Development of your unique style.

When you develop your talents you will discover more about yourself. You will learn that the way in which you apply your talents distinguishes you from other people. You will develop a personal vision and style. It is not only about what you do, but also how you do it. This makes you unique and gives you the opportunity to add your signature. When you look in the field of art you can see this very clearly. Both Rembrandt van Rijn and Vincent Van Gogh create paintings. But the way in which they do this makes their paintings unique and you can quickly recognize their personal style. Have you thought about this when you look at modern day jobs? How do you recognize in your work that it is a creation of your mastery?

A mindset of continuous learning.

When you develop yourself towards becoming an expert you have the idea that you will know everything about your field of expertise. The beauty of mastery is that you will learn that you will never know everything. In fact, you will discover that there is so much more to learn. Curiosity is reactivated. The same curiosity that you had as a child. This mindset of continuous learning will help you to experiment, discover and innovate. You will notice that mastery can actually not be reached. It is not an end state, but a mindset life long learning. Not because you have to, but because you want it.