I remember, when I was studying economics
about 4 years ago and I had to write this 50-page dissertation on a one-month internship.
I was working at a construction site and it wasn’t really an internship, to begin with.
I wasn’t treated preferentially in any way and I had no one showing me around or explaining
just about anything, so I mostly worked long days of pure physical labor with only half
an hour of lunch time. Now, while the other students of my class were sitting in an office
comfortably complaining about having nothing to do, I was outside by 30-something degrees
with an obligatory helmet on my head that seemed to absorb and contain all the sunbeams
in case I wasn’t already sweating profusely. However, I preferred it to the other half
of the time, when it rained like I was standing underneath a waterfall, but the weather was
really just a minor thing. My fellow classmates could start at 9 am and go home at 3 pm, whereas
I had to work twice as long and x-times as hard. Ironically all of us were avoiding checking
the clock, so time would pass sooner, but I wished it was out of boredom. After that
one month, what could have initially been my summer holidays, the last thing I wanted
to do was write a 50-page dissertation. It did not help, when school started again about
2 weeks later. All the homework, new assignments, weekly exams, demanding projects – all of
it was too important to neglect and of immediate priority.
So the deadline approached with remarkable speed. And all of a sudden, we had one week
left to turn it in. (All of a sudden, right? I totally have myself to blame and would act
differently today, but that was the mindset I was in 4 years ago.) I did not even manage
to start Saturday, it was so much, that it paralyzed me. I did not know where or how
to start and so I chose to waste the whole day in denial. Predictibly irrational behaviour.
On Sunday, I managed to create a structure, a table of content, that would match all the
objectives and ended up writing four quality pages, not that much. I soon realized that
my biggest problem was the time I had to spend additionally on researching. I had had no
time to take notes, since I had been lifting heavy shit & operating machines all day. Nobody
on the construction site had the time or even the expertise to explain the business side
of things to me. With about 2 & a half hours of sleep I went to class on Monday and as
it turned out, I wasn’t the only one in this self-imposed predicament and we all knew what
we had to do. Throughout the whole week, whatever time window we had, we would work on our dissertations.
In every class with access to computers, of which we didn’t have many, in every 15 min
break once a day and even a class or two where we managed to escape without consequences.
My day and night cycle was ridicioulous. I’d get home, completely exhausted, sleep for
3 hours and then work through the whole night. I worked on it until it was time to get on
the bus again or until I felt so tired that I read the same sentence 5 times and it still
didn’t make any sense to me. Like I couldn’t read the alphabet anymore. The words just
became a meaningless pulp of symbols and every few minutes I would realize my mind had wandered
off into a completely unrelated thought process and I had lost track of what I was doing.
If that was the case I usually took a quick 2 hour nap to continue where I had left of.
Surprisingly that 2 hour nap was enough to revitalize my energy. I was forcing the words
to come out, I had never written so creatively and professionally before. We have to turn
it in by Friday, 12 am or we’ll lose 20% of the possible points. A disastrous punishment.
The whole week passed very quickly, but at the same time it felt like 2 months. On Friday
11:30, 30 minutes before I had to hand it in, I was ready to print the damn thing and
the fucking printer doesn’t work. I almost started panicking & then something took over,
I saw the world in slowmotion and we figured it out. I ended up reaching it in on time,
but it felt like the whole week, every time I resisted falling asleep or giving up and
I kept struggling and used every time window imaginable contributed to me making it. As
I’ve mentioned in an earlier video, I call this forced creativity, when you have no other
option, you start seeing solutions that weren’t there before. You become inventive and inspired
and conquer impossible odds. The whole week is a blur to me, like a night
out you’ve completely forgotten through consuming too much alcohol and then you slowly recover
some pieces of the puzzle, but you’re not able to put the whole picture together.
Months later we were called in student by student and the teacher, who was notorious
for being the biggest asshole on campus, gave me the best mark possible and even asked if
he could use the last part of my work for future teaching. We’re talking about a guy
who would rather cut his own foot off, than give an undeserved good mark and big words
of admiration. That dissertation to this day is one of my
best works and even reading it feels strange. It’s like someone with far superior skills
wrote it, I don’t even remember writing many of its parts, but I did write them. I know
that as a fact, because I can remember the emotions I felt. Anxious that I wouldn’t make
it, completely stressed out, but at the same time like I was achieving something great
and a sort of pride that it wasn’t a big enough challenge for me, that I could not only make
it, but make it great. Believe me, when I say. If I had done what seems to be the right
thing, to work a month in advance and invest an hour every day, I would probably never
have reached that sort of focus, dedication and creativity. It would not have been an
A+, that’s for sure. I remember that on Monday I felt the full
weight of what was on the line and I made a decision, I was going to hustle. Not like
I was arrogantly proud, more like “Even, if it all went down in a fiery blaze of hell,
at the very least, I would’ve tried and given it my all and it worked out perfectly. Robert
Greene has told a very similar story to this one about experiencing Mastery, ironically,
when his agents gave him a strict deadline to finish writing Mastery. Now, I’m not comparing
my writing skills to Robert Greene’s. He is my favorite author and his skill is impeccable.
I’m comparing the situation, but even there – the period of time, he was in that state,
was something around 8 weeks. No wonder he says writing his books almost kills him. He
literally said I thought I was going to die. As Greene said himself, the first 2-3 days
he felt anger and didn’t want to accept the situation, sort of wasting that time, but
then he realized what was on the line (his book wouldn’t have been published, a fucking
disaster) and decided to give it his best, to try and make it happen and he did and it
worked out perfectly. That’s one way to be put on Deathground, whereas I had noone else
to blame but myself. But when I read Mastery for the first time, I could relate so much,
because I had come to same conclusions Robert Greene had. I was reading part of my own thoughts
in a much more eloquent and reasearched way. However and this is where we get to the bottom
of things. What I just described is a glimpse of what Mastery looks like, I immediately
went back to being normal, there was no deadline, no need for taking on such a huge workload
in a challenging period of time. Imagine, for a second, if Mastery, if how I handled
that situation was my regular way of living, but I wouldn’t feel drained of energy and
eventually burn out that way. That sort of laser-like focus, determination and speed
would be the norm. I would have the feeling that I have a greater command of reality,
other people and myself at all times. That would be true Mastery. I’m working on it and
I hope you are, too. Mastery by Robert Greene is by far one of
the best books you will ever read. Mastery explains how you can become a leader
in any given field by examining the lives and pathways to success of historical masters
such as Mozart, Einstein, Benjamin Franklin and Darwin, as well as ‘living’ masters Greene
has interviewed. So for all of you struggling with connecting the historical examples to
today, there’s a lot to be learned by contemporary masters who are crushing it in life right
now. For all you power-hungry folks out there.
Understand this: the ultimate form of power is mastery. As a master you are at the height
of your power and most people, not you, because I believe in you, as you are in fact watching
a self-development video right now, but most people won’t ever achieve mastery in anything.
So the question is – why? “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 That’s the answer. All of us can, but few
of us will, because it’s hard. It’s difficult, but it wouldn’t be worth doing otherwise.
Let me tell you why most people feel really fucking bad about themselves. They’re miserable,
because everytime they face resistance they have two options. a) Do something about it.
Solve the problem. Attack it head on. Work hard. or b) choose the easy way. Choose immediate
gratification that will work against them in the long run, and not to forget, blame
everyone & everything else. Take no responsibility whatsoever and just wait for things to happen.
And that same kind of mindset makes them believe they’re not capable of doing great things.
Fact is they are capable, but it’s so much more comfortable to sit around and do nothing
while blaming your made-up, self-imposed inability forced on you by the rich & famous, who want
to keep you down and are constantly conspiring against you improving yourself. Please, for
your sake and mine. Don’t think like that and internalize “Only a break that is earned
is worth taking.” It will make you so much happier.
Keys to Mastery Everyone can achieve Mastery / It is not a
lack of innate talent, superior genetics or whatever else you blame it on. This wrong
notion that the successful people have something you don’t is comfortable thinking as it doesn’t
require you to take action. No more excuses, mastery can be achieved by anyone. I’m looking
at you. You are a future master, if you decide to put in the hours it takes to get there.
That’s good news and you should celebrate. Nothing beats hard work. Winning the lottery
for example, it’s a small fucking chance for that anyways, as far as I’m concerned, it’s
a government driven scam, playing on your fantasies, but let’s say you actually win
the lottery. That doesn’t magically give you any valuable skills, you’ll have the money,
sure, but becoming a master at something you love doing is so much more, than finding a
way to make good money with it. And waking up everyday being able to do whatever it is
you want will only make you happy if you’ve got a purpose. What’s your why? Why do you
get up in the morning? If the answer is, because you have to… that’s not a good answer. To
me, becoming a little bit better every day is the main reason I got the motivation to
jump out of bed in the morning with a smile, because I’m constantly transforming as a human
being to becoming a better person and if I can help others, like you, by doing so, that
will only make me a happier person. Now, this is a personal mantra of mine. Born
a peasant die a king. Do not accept the roles society foists on you. That’s you born as
a peasant, right here, see? No offense. Aaaand this is a crown, it implies that this guy
right here is a king, that can be you. Be royal in your own fashion.
Rediscover your inner child’s fascination / As children we tend to be drawn to something
naturally. It is through school, friends and parenting that we get pushed into the opposite
direction. We’re told to become lawyers and doctors, we’re told to go to college/university
and pursue the jobs that pay the highest salaries. We’re told to fit in and our uniqueness is
buried. No one asks us what we as individuals would love to do. But here’s the catch, we
can only truly master a field, if we’re genuinely driven by positive, core emotions like love
and passion for our craft. How else, could you expect to be happy? You won’t have the
necessary drive to make it, if you hate every living second of whatever it is you feel forced
to do. Sorting through bland business documents all day in some office cubicle I think is
the last thing anybody wants to do. Following your heart will be an emotional rollecoaster
and the one and only essential thing that will make you push through the hardships that
you will definitely live through is true, geniune passion for what you do.
While reading through Mastery I made a bunch of notes that I compiled into the next 20
lessons I felt are the most important. I know it’s a long video, but stick with me here,
I’m convinced you’ll find it helpful and if not I congratulate you for you must have already
mastered everything. 1) Know thyself, what kind of vocation or
career do you feel drawn to as an individual. You absolutely have to figure that out.
2) Seek out mentors, commit to apprenticeships, in which you’ll undergo years of humble observation,
skill acquisition and making your own reference experiences, instead of basing all your knowledge
on theoretical studies. 3) Revert to a feeling of deep humility and
open-mindedness, eager to learn from everyone. 4) Cross the threshold past the initial, fatiguing
stages of learning. Embrace resistance and pain, dismiss of limiting comfort and false
sense of security latching on to what’s familiar. 5) Once you’ve completed your apprencticeship,
make a shift. Take bold, self-secure actions and apply your skills, connecting new ideas
and letting your own creativity free. 6) Learn to handle criticism and failure,
be grateful for the chance to grow and improve through your mistakes.
7) The main separation of true masters to others is not an intellectual, but an emotional
component. To quote Eric Thomas “In school there were guys way smarter than me. […] Most
of them aren’t doing what I’m doing, why? Cuz you gotta have heart.”
8) Social intelligence is key to your way to the top. Your ablility to emphasize with
people, see and understand their perspective will prove most valuable. Again, you gotta
have heart, not just for what you do, but for yourself and other people.
9) We tend to be judgemental, idealize or even demonize people, chances are you might
not understand something they do. Be a neutral observer when learning, don’t project your
own thoughts, emotions and insecurities onto others.
10) At the same time people will do that to you. They could hinder your progress through
their envy, conformism, rigidity, narcassism, laziness, irresponsibility and passive aggression.
Learn to dodge those vices like the potentially deadly bullets they are.
11) Acta non verba. Speak through your accomplishments, your point is proven, you can’t be sabotaged.
Almost nothing good comes from talking about your future projects to people who don’t have
the same values, the same wordlview, as you do.
12) Your ego will get in the way from time to time. It’s important to know you’re not
your thoughts, your actions matter most. Hence try to distance yourself emotionally from
your ego, see yourself through the lense of others and work on your flaws and shortcomings.
13) Don’t take criticism personally from people who don’t know what they’re talking about.
Likewise, when criticizing someone, choose your words carefully, make it constructive
and talk like an expert only on subjects you’re familiar with.
14) Remember how energetic and full of life you were as a child? The sense of wonder and
endless curiosity about everything? Relearn to see the world through that lense. It will
stimulate your creativity like nothing else. 15) Dispel of all your preconceived notions
about the world. Dismissing of all limiting beliefs and releasing your imagination will
prove powerful beyond measure. Be as fluid as water and think outside the box.
16) Change is good, unconventional approaches are what starts innovation. Having unpopular
beliefs is a sign, you’re onto something. To quote Mark Twain “Whenever you find yourself
on the side of the majority – it is time to pause and reflect.” Challenge and question
popular ideas. 17) Learning is a gift on its own, soon enough
you’ll be connecting a wide array of ideas from different fields of study and disciplines
coming to conclusions on universal truths. Take Josh Waitzkin for example. Once he mastered
the chessboard, he was able to transfer what he learned onto his brazilian jiu jitsu and
master the sport within a much shorter period of time.
18) What’s your why? You have to visualize, write down and repeat what you’re living for,
what’s your purpose, what’s your destiny? Feel conciously connected to it and you won’t
be able to wait to get up in the morning, see what new challenges you’ll face while
pursuing your dreams. 19) Picture success as a heavy rooftop and
the pillars to support it are self-discipline, passion, persistence, concentration, sweat,
self-reliance, observance, confidence, self-trust, commitment, modesty, formlessness, fearlessness
and openmindedness. 20) There’s also ways to make that rooftop
lighter by dismissing of hindrances such as complacency, conservatism, helplessness, impatience,
grandiosity, inflexibility, distractions, egotism and overall negativity.
In closing, I wholeheartedly recommend reading the book yourself. No amount of animated videos
would be able to serve as a substitute for it or the other books for that matter. It’s
probably one of the most important one’s you’ll ever read. If you haven’t realized by now
Robert Greene is one of the top authors living today, I guess there’s no saving you. I’m
joking, of course, but then again every joke has a little bit of truth in it.
As always thanks for watching. Don’t miss out on my mentoring and subscribe
for more supplementary animated video book summaries which will serve you on your own
way to becoming a true master.