I received a number of follow-up questions on the topic of mastery, so I thought I would share with you an excerpt from Do What You Want on Wall Street.
Mastery is one of seven principles that matter to taking action and getting what you want, so take mastery seriously, and watch yourself accelerate towards what you want!
Ray Dalio runs the largest hedge fund in the world for many reasons. He writes about one of them in Principles: “I often hear people say, ‘It’s getting better,’ as though that is good enough, when ‘it’ is both below that bar and improving at an inadequate rate. That isn’t good enough.”
Consider my client Dean. When Dean walks into a meeting, he knows why he is there. He knows his ask, and he has designed the meeting to get to the ask. He knows who he needs to be, how to position himself and his firm, and he has profiled the client. Dean knows what drives him, how he thinks, and what he values. He even knows when he is creating pictures in his mind while he speaks. He acts strategically with intent, bringing the most advanced tools and skills. He is exceptional at reading people, controlling conversational frames, and using persuasive language and narrative to drive emotion in every meeting.
None of this has happened by accident. He has learned this because he is dedicated to achieving mastery.
Mastery comes from exceptional dedication to excellence. Kanye West said it took him five thousand hours to create one song, Power. Even if he were working around the clock, this is more than six months, for one song that runs four minutes and fifty-two seconds!
Mastery doesn’t come easily. As Albert Einstein said, “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.”
For a professional footballer, mastery does not happen by picking up the ball and running with it.
And no one imagines that thousands of hours of welding on a production line qualifies you to be CEO of Ford. The key to an exceptional career is building mastery at the right things.
It is easy to see how targeting mastery and driving your system through continuous improvement builds you into someone of great and unique value, which is an unstoppable formula for getting what you want.