Mastery Takes Time

Becoming good (and then, hopefully, maybe… even great) takes time, a ton of effort, and a continual decision to not quit.

Watching Christian Flores attempt this trick is emotional. It took over 2 years, thousands of attempts, a few trips to the hospital because of injury to overcome this obstacle:

What fascinates me the most, though, is the mental toughness that Christian required to continually get up and meet the challenge over such a long period of time.

It’s not so much the trick or the obstacle though, as many of us are familiar with. It’s the personal struggle, the internal battle that wages when we attempt to accomplish the things that we want to accomplish.

The anxiety, the fear, the self-doubt, the self-hatred even that we might walk through. And I’m sure that making and landing the jump was just a cherry on top – the process was the real long-term win.

And, as a consequence of not giving up he was developing mastery over the board, his body, and his mind. The unseen outcomes and outcauses of such a deliberate exercise could be 100-fold more important and powerful and impactful than just making the jump.

Don’t stop creating, building.

 

His personal growth is what’s at stake. It’s what’s going to have the highest return on investment as well. I think of the things that I’m currently engaged with and I see the same principles in play.

Specifically, I think about the following:

  1. Making a clear decision and commitment about a project. This means, necessarily, that the amount of projects that you can handle at any given time is small because a commitment means that you’ll invest your most valuable asset (time) to it and you only have so much of this resource.
  2. This may sound like a contradiction in some ways, but, you have to remove the time element out of your psychology when it comes to accomplishing the task. Christian didn’t know it would take 2+ years to complete. But, that wasn’t as much of the issue as just simply finishing the task and challenge.
  3. Know that you’re building corollary and adjacent skills and expertise as you engage with the challenge and project. These culminate nicely into a tighter form of mastery as time progresses.
  4. Completion of the project is satisfying but temporary. You’ll notice that the last thing that Christian mentions in the video is asking folks for a new challenge.
  5. Remember that it’s just hard work. Consistently showing up and knowing that it’s really not about the big breaks.

As I build my new startup, grow the team, and focus on making our early customers happy I feel great peace and clarity that this is what I’m supposed to be working on. As startups go, I’m building professional mastery around a ton of different things as the needs of the business change (and they change quite rapidly).

Add being a dad and a father and I’ve got a pretty full plate of things that I’m working on and that I’m building mastery around relationally as well. Growing deeper and wider with my relationship with my spouse and fully taking the time to discover who my children are is a never-ending quest. It’s also one that I’m enjoying more and more as time moves forward.

Mastery takes incredible patience and it’s a commitment to invest continually over a long period time that really brings it all together in the end. Finally, I think it’s worth noting that I believe that very few people will do this intentionally but I think it’s intent that can make the biggest difference.

Everyone will grow and continue to evolve and gain experiences, many valuable and some not-so-much. But, there are a handful of people who, with great purpose and courage, will choose specific things to invest in highly, giving up opportunities for many experiences for just a few focused ones.

Ironically, I think the end-result is a much more richer and more fulfilling life as a whole. Focus seems to create an expanded view of life, a deeper understanding, and ultimately meaning. It’s how we build true momentum.


Also published on Medium.