“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.” Albert Einstein
The teacher wrote a list of ten items on the board and intentionally wrote one of them wrong. When he turned back towards the students, he asked the question, “What can you tell me about what I’ve written on the board?” The hands frantically went up! He pointed at one of them to give the answer, “Sir, the last item you wrote on the board is wrong!” Almost the entire class nodded in agreement and excitement to this answer. Only two students out of the entire class gave a different answer which was about how valuable, profound and life-changing the nine correct items were. Well, the lesson from this story is about how we, human beings, are so wired to search for something wrong instead of focussing on what can help us advance our cause. It’s so amazing how excited people feel when they identify something wrong while losing focus on the correct ones that should help them get ahead in life. They will tell you about all the reasons why they are not achieving their goals instead of why they must.
To change this mindset in order for us to unleash our potential and our dreams, we must adopt a step-by-step science approach towards mastery. This step-by-step science approach of mastery can be laid out or packaged into four main steps as follows:
- This is choosing the area, according to your natural abilities and passions, that you want to build your life and career around. This is deciding the trajectory you want your life path to follow and sticking with it.
- I’ve seen and experienced it in my own life and am convinced that there’s magic in starting. Starting gives you power and unleashes the genius in you. When you start and move forward, providence – an influence that is not human in origin and is thought to control people’s lives, moves with you. This force only kicks in when you commit to your commitment. Like a man who said, “This is my mountain and I’ll climb it. Yes, they tell me it’s too difficult to climb it; they tell me it’s dangerous and I’ll get killed. They tell me it’s too high, rocky and windy up there! But, this is my mountain and I’ll climb it and guess what! Soon enough, I’ll be waving from the top of this mountain or I’ll be dead on the side of it, but one thing for sure, I’m not coming back!” This is what I mean by commitment. Commitment is not in what you say, but what you do.
- Develop different ways of doing it. You will never know how best to do something until you try and know few different ways of doing it. This helps you to optimize. Optimization by definition is the act of making something as good as possible. Howard Gardner put it succinctly, “If you understand something well, you can represent it, describe it, embody it in several ways. Indeed, if you can only present it in one way, then your own mastery is likely to be tenuous/shaky.” This step leads to choosing the best of the best methods of doing something and then work towards further improving it by deliberate practice. This process requires resilience and patience. Unfortunately, in this world of instant gratification and microwave mentality, whenever you say ‘be patient’, many people roll up their eyes in despair and frustration simply because you are not speaking the right language to them. The instant question they ask is “how long is this ‘be patient’ of yours?” Patience is the opposite of “Now!”
- This is a long-term journey of deliberate intent and laser focus, there’s no shortcuts here! This journey is about life-time commitment to something that will lead you to self-actualization. Self-actualization is not the end in itself but a doorway to self-transcendence which is something much bigger and beyond yourself and that’s the home of deep fulfilment.
So, unleashing your full potential is a life-time commitment and demands all of you. The path of unleashing your full potential is linked to mastery which takes many years of willingness and commitment to continuous learning, practice, guidance through coaching and mentoring. This journey is about trusting and committing to the process and gradually allowing yourself to uncover and become the best version of yourself.
Veli Ndaba is a Neuro-Conscious Leadership Speaker, Life & Business Coach, Motivational Speaker and Author of four books (You Are Born to Win, Your Dream is Calling You and SWITCH ON! And Set Your Soul On Fire!), Newspaper Columnist and Entrepreneur. To book him to speak at your next event or to help you and your team unleash your greatness, contact him on firstname.lastname@example.org, www.velindaba.com or +27 83 304 9773