The best definition of success I have come across is “Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal or goal.” In other words everyone can define their success according to their predefined goals/outcome and each individual’s road map will be different. I believe strongly that personal growth ties in strongly with an individual’s success and that’s what I am expanding on below.
I have also heard a lot of people say “Do what you love” but I have a slight variation on that. I might love playing guitar but if I am not any good at it then it doesn’t matter how much I love it. I think it is better to live by the motto “Love what you do and keep getting better at it.” Not all of us can do what we love but we have the choice to love what we do for a living.
What is the requirement for success and mastery? I believe it is the ability to keep getting better and better at what we do for a living. When we really think about it that’s all it boils down to. I like the Nike ad campaign which says “There is no finish line.” They launched this ad campaign in 1977 and one statement included “Beating the competition is relatively easy but beating yourself is a never ending commitment.” This can be a metaphor for us in our learning journey as there is no end.
Carol Dweck’s excellent book Mindset also suggests that mastery is a mindset. There are people who believe that intelligence can’t be increased (fixed mindset). Others believe that with hard work, learning, training and effort intelligence can be increased. The latter group has what Dweck calls growth mindset. Those individuals with a growth mindset don’t mind failure because they believe performance can be improved as learning comes from failure. She also says people have two types of goals one is learning goals and other is performance goals. Getting an A in French is a performance goal whereas mastering a language is a learning goal. People with learning goals on the long term reach mastery.
One of the tools I have found useful is the three part hedgehog concept articulated by Jim Collins in his block buster book “Good to Great.” The three questions to ponder are
It is amazing the amount of information that is available to all of us in our fields. Time was when only a select few could reach mastery in their fields as information was hoarded and not shared or available for everyone. The great thing about the time in which we are living now is the amount of abundance available. I don’t mean only the economic aspect, I actually believe the amount of information that is available to each of us is mind numbing and we can’t possibly learn everything in more than one lifetime .Just look at the following statistic Over 90% of all the data in the world was created in the past 2 years.
The questions to address in our learning journey are
Here are 14 simple steps that I believe can get us better and better at what we do
The steps are simple but following it is the key. If we follow this consistently over a long period of time I believe mastery is very much in our grasp though we never reach it completely as it is a never ending journey. The real joy is in the pursuit of mastery and commitment to lifelong learning is the key. There is no quick fix or shortcut. We have to be in it for the long haul. One example of perseverance is Tenzing Norgay who reached the summit of Everest along with Edmund Hillary on his seventh attempt.
I want to finish with this quote from Elbert Hubbard which is very relevant and important on the path to Success and Mastery. “Self-discipline is the ability to make yourself do what you should do, when you should do it, whether you feel like it or not.”
The views expressed in this article are my own and do not represent my organization.