by: Craig Burton
“All man’s well-being depends upon two things: one is the right choice of aim, of the end to which actions should tend, the other lies in the finding of the actions that lead to that end.”
Have you ever achieved a goal and thought to yourself “is that it?” Something was missing?
Maybe the answer to that question was ‘the journey’.
I want to shift focus from achieving goals to the path of mastery. Now there is no doubt that a great deal of happiness can be achieved through attaining the goals we seek (providing they were attained without having to break your own core beliefs). But there is a flip side. I believe a balance between achieving the goals and enjoying the journey is essential.
What is mastery?
Mastery is a state of being.
‘Consistency not perfection’ is the catchphrase from my friend Paul Stephen Lubicz’s Company ‘The Wellbeing Manager.’ Consistency is the mark of the master; it’s a state not a product. The minute you get locked into believing there is a perfect way you become less open to other possibilities, so growth stops and the self critical part of the mind becomes a monster because those impossible ‘fixed’ ideals can not ever be met. Don’t get me wrong though, consistently doing an average job will bring average results, it’s only through the approach of excellence can mastery be attained.
“How do you best move towards mastery? To put it simply, you practice diligently, but you practice primarily for the sake of the practice itself. Rather than being frustrated while on the plateau, you learn to appreciate and enjoy it just as much as you do the upward surges.”
Goals and contingencies, as I previously said, are important. But they exist in the future and the past, beyond our current realm.
“Practice, the path of mastery, exists only in the present. You can see it, hear it, smell it, feel it. To love the plateau is to love the eternal now, to enjoy the inevitable spurts of progress and the fruits of accomplishment, then serenely to accept the new plateau that waits just beyond them. To love the plateau is to love what is most essential and enduring in your life.”
5 keys to fulfillment
Leonard describes 5 master keys to long-term success and fulfillment, as:
1. Instruction – Find a master teacher.
2. Practice – Masters love to practice, it’s their passion.
3. Surrender – Surrendering to your teacher and to the demands of your discipline.
4. Intentionality – Create the vision in colour.
5. The Edge – Push the envelope.
Dabbler, obsessive, hacker and master
Which one are you:
1. The Dabblers: Approaches each new sport, relationship, career with enormous enthusiasm. They love the ritual of getting started, new equipment. But they only seek instant gratification and when they reach that plateau they quit and look for the next bed to jump in.
2. The Obsessive: Makes the journey painful. Results are only what counts. When they reach the plateau the obsessive bangs, fights and does whatever it takes to knock through it.
3. The Hacker: Stays on the plateau indefinitely. Does enough to get by and stays in the comfort zone.
4. The Master: Simply anticipates the plateau which leads to power. They don’t fight it, stress about it or quit. Dedication to practice diligently, for the sake of practice itself. So finally when climbing that mountain be aware of the peak ahead, but don’t keep looking at it. Keep your eyes on the road, and when you reach the top just keep going…..
“Do not think that this is all there is. More and more wonderful teaching exist – the sword is unfathomable.”
-Master Swordsman Yamaoka Tesshu