The book is divided into 7 steps, each explaining the steps towards mastery of such craft or passion you are about to pursue. It is important to take note and achieve mastery in such order, from discovering your calling or potential towards fusing your intuitive approach with a rational approach. Each of them plays a big role in mastery.
A systematic approach to Mastery
We know Robert Greene in using a systematic approach to master such skills he’s been writing in his books. This also applies to some of the books he has written (such as 48 Laws of Power, and The Art of Seduction). He usually organizes his approaches to the following format:
- Keys to Power/Mastery
- Strategies to attain Mastery
I have to say these formats incite some excitement into me as I’m reading the book. It makes you feel that you have to absorb every information he has written in the book which makes reading it easier to understand or the points he was referring to. Every detail of the book needs to be absorbed.
Using successful people and history as the basis for achieving proper mastery
I have to say the best thing the author can do to encourage his readers that he can unlock his potential is by using people who did it successfully or site and mention some examples of successful attempts of successful people. It’s quite true actually.
When I read the history of Albert Einstein throughout the book, I didn’t expect that at some point he was quite mentally challenged. In fact, my very definition of genius is the person that can ace every score in an examination and every subject. Reading his story in this books proves that false otherwise and my perspective toward geniuses were just wishful thinking. I now know that he was only good in Mathematics and Physics and can only understand concepts which are explained spatially or using visuals. I never expected that such geniuses have also weaknesses. Now I know that geniuses were unique and creative in their own way. We actually are geniuses in our own way.
By learning their situations like that, I was able to determine where I stand, and I was also able to acknowledge my weak points and stick with my core strengths which are related to my life’s purpose. Now, achieving mastery to what I’m mastering is just one dot away for me. Through that, I’ve learned that frustrations and setbacks are just normal circumstances to experience when trying to achieve mastery.
Breaks limiting beliefs in achieving mastery
There’s a lot of work involved when achieving mastery at its fullest. Needless to say achieving it is quite hard. The author did a job well done in breaking limiting beliefs in achieving this.
We were intimidated by people like Albert Einstein or Leonardo Da Vinci and their capability to think out of the box. But in reality, we also have the capability to do so for we are unique in our own ways. That’s the point the book was making and it is based on the history of great people who made a name for themselves.
Useful strategies were emphasized
Robert Greene mentions several coping strategies which are useful for mastery of skills, including passion, curiosity, openness to new ideas, and so forth. As we learn particular skills, we become close-minded in the process and it’s a useful hint to be aware of such behavior when learning.
In addition to that, Robert Greene enumerated some useful terms he were able to distinct based on the behaviors of our minds:
- Original Mind
- Conventional Mind
- Dimensional Mind
In his description, Original Mind refers to the state of mind who is just starting to learn anything related to talent, skills, profession. If your mind is in this state, your curiosity will strike and will absorb any relevant information that interests you. It’s just like a newborn baby just learning how to walk, to talk, to create something. Thus the term Original Mind. At this rate, you’re taking apprenticeship to master and harness such talent.
Conventional Mind refers to the state of mind which sticks to conventional wisdom or acquired knowledge during apprenticeship stage of mastering such craft. In which case, your mind will cease to wander or cease to create out-of-the-box solutions when you get comfortable with your acquired knowledge at some point.
Dimensional Mind is a special case and this state of mind is where usually the hall of geniuses resides. Their mind wanders endlessly despite mastering such skills. They never settle. They keep creating, they keep innovating despite having a conventional wisdom or acquired knowledge during apprenticeship stage. If you want to achieve perfect mastery of your craft, keep learning, and keep thinking creatively and avoid narrowing down or sitting in your comfort zone.
A little bit of repetition
There’s a little bit of repetition if I must say. Especially when he was trying to convey the idea by using examples of the people who achieved mastery, they were mentioned too often in some areas. But this can simply be ignored.
The works of Robert Greene never fails to impress. Starting from 48 Laws of Power, I think just by simply reading his books I’ve become more knowledgeable, more powerful, wiser, and become more aware of my life tasks to make a change while I’m living in this world.
If anything, this is a good motivator and productivity booster if you’re mastering something. I think this can best be paired with Mihaly’s research of Flow. I also recommend you to read that book. It’s very interesting.