A “Master” is defined as a skilled practitioner of a particular art or activity. To be a Master at something in our society will always be highly valued. When an individual brings substantial value to society they are often rewarded financially. Some areas of mastery are rewarded more than others. Professionals in medical, banking and finance and law often have a more direct path to financial reward. That does not mean other areas are not highly valued.
Let’s use the internet for example. First created for military communications many people thought the internet would have little personal use. The internet is now part of our everyday life. Much of what makes our internet today is the service/website Google. Founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin mastered the search engine and have been rewarded spectacularly. They continue to expand the service of Google (Publicly traded as Alphabet).
Google attempts to master services instead of focusing on revenue generation. Many of their most used services are completely free. Google, YouTube, Gmail. All free and all the most popular service of their type.
The returns from mastering services are exponential, opposed to the linear returns of just getting a job and trying to save. The problem with trying to master something is the long-term investment of your time. You may have to put off income in order to dedicate your time to your craft.
In our next case of mastery, we have the boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. Mayweather finished his career with a record of 49 wins and zero losses while making over 700 million in earnings. Mayweather’s focus was always on his craft. The fighter was known for his absolute discipline. He received a bronze medal at the Olympics. Soon after he turned pro and vowed to never lose again.
Mayweather was often ridiculed for his overly defensive style focused on what he knew best, to hit and not be hit. He treated every fight very seriously and was always in top condition. Something we can all learn from. Treat every instance of your craft with the utmost respect and you will succeed.
It really isn’t about what you do, it is how you do it. If you are the best at something and bring value to the world you will have success. The mastering of your craft takes intense focus and sincere dedication. You have to believe in what you are doing stronger than anything else in the world.
Our third master is Steve Jobs. A man who overcame failure and mastered brand creation and producing customer wants. A large majority of Apple products that Jobs made were not superior in their elements. It was Jobs’ ability to take different products and bring them together to make an ecosystem for the customer. It started with Itunes which created a platform for artists to host and sell their music on. From Itunes, the Ipod was created, followed by the iPhone which arguably changed the world. He was an absolute genius and master of branding.
The iPhone allowed users to connect to the internet in the first user-friendly touch interface. It also created a platform for application developers, further enhancing the capability of the iPhone. Jobs’ vision and ability to lead intelligent people was his craft. He mastered it, he was able to harness the skill of computer engineers and package a product that could be sold and loved by millions.
Jobs’ awareness of his weaknesses was something we can all learn from. He didn’t try to do people’s job’s for them, he appreciated individual’s strengths and brought them all together. Too often in life we let our ego get in the way and try to compensate for vulnerabilities. We see things that we don’t understand or are not good as negative reflections of our abilities. It is okay to be too mediocre in some areas of life, as long as we are working towards excellence in other areas.
You need to have faith in your areas of excellence and continue to improve on them. Mayweather wouldn’t have the career he had if was trying to be a great baseball player as well as a boxer. Allow the mind and efforts to be centralized and you will be able to achieve great growth in your craft.
Another element of mastering your craft will be ignoring the naysayers. Many of the great visionists in our time have done unimaginable things. Allowing others to impact them and would degrade their vision.
Sometimes the best way to work on your craft is to do it on the side. Let’s say you are an artist and love to paint. Initially, your paintings will not provide you with enough income to pay your bills. Working a full-time job and doing your painting on the side might be your best option. There are 168 hours in a week,40 hours go towards work, 56 hours to sleep. Leaving you with 72 hours to work on your craft. Excuses of not enough time or energy are not valid.
If you desire to refine your craft bad enough you will make time for it. This brings us to our fourth master Colonel Harland David Sanders. At age five, he was met with tragedy when his father died. At age 16, he quit school with an attempt to make money working instead. At age 17, he had already lost 4 jobs. Between ages 18 & 22, he was a railroad conductor and failed. He joined the army and washed out there. He applied for law school and he was rejected. He became an insurance salesman and failed at that too. At age 20, his wife left him. He became a cook and dishwasher in a small cafe. At age 65, he finally retired. Sanders decided to commit suicide, he had failed so much. Before he went through with taking his own life, he realized still one thing he could do better than anyone was “cooking”. He borrowed $87, bought and fried up chicken using his recipe and then went door to door to sell them in Kentucky. At age 88 Colonel Sanders, founder of KFC was a billionaire.
Sanders teaches us that through relentless perseverance anything is possible. Although Sanders didn’t find his true craft until late in his life, he still had the ambition to persevere it with all his efforts. We can all learn from the masters above. I wish you all the best with your craft and never stop believing.
In summary, remember if you wish to be the best at something you need to be passionate and willing to pursue it relentlessly! If you wish to be great there are no excuses and there are no limits! All your dreams are within your reach if you are willing to take a leap of faith and persevere and see them through. If you have a craft which you love or dedicate all your time to, feel free to share it below!