Book Club: Mastery by Robert Greene
Book Review Score: 10/10
To become a master in anything, you first have to know yourself. The first move to mastery is always inward, learning who you really are and reconnecting with that innate force.
In order to master something, we must be willing to be an apprentice. This requires repeating the same things day in, day out to ensure we improve. In the book, Greene quotes Greek Poet Pindar, “become who you are by learning who you are”.
You must love the subject and feel a profound connection to it, even from a young age. Willing to learn as much as you need to to find mastery.
To learn requires a sense of humility. I have always been (what I thought was) independent and had the belief I would be better at teaching myself how to do things.
This book made me realize that you need to humble yourself in order to learn from those smarter and more experienced than you. They have walked a similar path to the one you are heading down and are often happy to give advice.
Don’t be too proud/stupid to admit that other people have the ability to help and further you. We become afraid of showing others that we are bad at something and do not want to fail.
Green says “we feel, perhaps unconsciously that learning from masters is an indictment on our own natural ability.” When in reality, succumbing to learning from masters is the fastest form of development and advancement. We must fail to succeed.
I love the way the book is structured, Greene tells stories of different masters from history like Benjamin Franklin, Mozart, Einstein, Da Vinci, and Henry Ford. He shows us how each of these masters got to the top of their game and how to apply these principles today.
Keys to Mastery
“You must allow everyone the right to exist in accordance with the character he/she has, whatever it turns out to be: and all you should strive to do is to make use of this character in such a way as its nature permits, rather than hope for any alteration in it or to condemn it offhand for what it is.”
Throughout our childhoods, we tend to idealize people like our family and friends and not see them truly like people. It is natural to have this view as a child, but it distorts our view of people’s true desires. Greene calls it the ‘Naive Perspective’ and we must move beyond it to achieve mastery.
When we enter into the real world and we see these ideals fall away and begin to see the real side of people’s behaviors and actions. This creates a disparity between imagination and reality, giving us a Naive Perspective.
Social intelligence is disregarding this naive perspective and taking a step back to understand why people are acting in these ways. What are their desires, drives, and perspectives?
See and accept people for who they are and do not try to change them. Focus our attention outward, not inward. Get outside of ourselves and immerse your mind in their world.
Mastery is perfect for any young adult looking to find their way in life and needing some guidance. I read this as I finished university and it really helped me get a better grasp of reality and other people’s behaviors and actions.
Since reading the book I have been better at accepting people for who they are, not trying to change them, and seeing what I can learn from their perspective of life. It has also taught me humility and looking to masters of my craft for help.
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