- Possession of consummate skill.
- The status of master or ruler; control.
- Full command of a subject of study.
My oldest son has an affinity for the study of sports video games. Any time he picks up the play station controller he wants to be the best. He wants to be the ruler of the domain of Madden 25, for example, to the point that whenever he gets a chance he practices. He won’t play actual games, but he works on the practice simulation and when he does play he wants to play against the best players that he can to measure where he is in his ability to manipulate the joy stick to do his bidding so he comes out victorious. He doesn’t always win so when he loses, again I see him practicing, working on his game until he reaches his goal. When it comes to his school as well work there are times when he falls short as all of us do, I see a drive in him to not settle for the mediocre. No matter what he does in life I see that he will not settle until he is at the pinnacle of what he is trying to achieve no matter how long it takes. He wants to be the best. He does this in every aspect of his life I have noticed as treks toward perfection in all that he attempts. His journey has not been and will not always be smooth. I have been there to see the barricades, road blocks and short comings, but he has an unwavering faith in the possibility of his ability to achieve.Knowing this, when I see that he is stifled he brushes himself off and continues on his quest to victory.
I admire him because as adults, we have a tendency to place limits on ourselves that we pass on to our children as an infectious disease. Many times we infect them inadvertently because many of us have the “do as I say and not as I do” way of teaching. We as adults often settle because we feel that we have no other recourse. We feel that our time has passed so continuing to press toward a dream is of no consequence when we have a mortgage to pay or an electric bill due. Of course that is reality, but we cannot lose our drive to become proficient in something or many things in our lives. His drive is feeding me. As his father it is my job to nurture his ongoing internal engine and I cannot achieve this if I am not staving to be a master in my own right.
In order to become a master of anything there has to be a realized passion present. No one can become a virtuoso in a field or practice that they are not passionate about it. You can’t even begin the journey if there isn’t at least an inkling of interest. There must be an overall presence of conviction that seeps from your pours to the point that it is etched into the fabric of who you are. This conviction is not always present in the initial stages of development, but as one drives closer to the goal of mastery a passion can develop. Live in the moment and define it. Allow your presence to saturate all that is around you and allow all that is around you to saturate you because in order to become a master one has to first be a student. There in lies our issue. No one wants to be a student any more. Everyone wants to start out as a Master, but a master that refuses instruction is as a flower that refuses pollen.
Many people walk through life thinking that they are already adept in all that they do, but in reality they haven’t buckled down to really learn anything. I mean really learn. When my son gets a new video game he studies it. He hunkers down in his room and for the time allotted to him to play he studies and practices. He jumps in with both feet. This is what we have to do as people. We have to find what we want to gain expertise in and dive in full bodied. Remove all distraction and learn. Devise a plan that will allow you the place and time to learn and become a master.
Mastery takes patience. One does not gain full comprehension of anything overnight. Albert Einstein said, “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.” There is a fear that exists in us that is stifling, preventing the giving all of ourselves to something. That fear has to die. Recently, I read a piece by my friend Al Shepard, many of you know him as Blueprint, called Fear Comes in Many Disguises. In it he says,
Fear is a natural human response (to) unknown outcomes. As we take these situations into consideration, our minds make sure we have assessed the possible outcomes. This is human nature and a mostly positive survival instinct. However, there is a point where fear in our current context is given too much power. That happens when we begin to fear the possible negative outcomes more than the potential gains. Even worse, we begin to take on a dialog that hides these fears as something other than what they really are.
This struck a chord with me because fear can be why we don’t make an attempt to become proficient in anything. There is the fear of failure. There is the fear of inadequacy. There is also, weirdly enough, the fear of success. I have suffered and still do suffer from this fear at different points in my life and that fear has held me back from becoming the master that I am supposed to be in certain things, but seeing my son push and practice that game reminds me that the journey is long, tiring and at times repetitive, but as long as the passion is alive in me the voyage is never over.
We live in a microwave society that does not value mastery. In reality, society does not value much at all. Everywhere is a factory the spits out as many robots as possible with minimal skill in the craft that they were constructed for. From reality television to college campuses this world has become an assembly line for the construction of mediocre pods of empty ability and only a yearn to be scene for the succubus’ of the world to feed off of until they are used up. Then there is movement to the next pod. So how long will you allow the world to feed off of you? When will you make the decision to become something bigger that just another human. Being. We are destined for more than that. We just have to make a point to want to be. So this year, take a note out of my son’s book and work to become a master of something. Don’t just be a “jack of all trades.” Don’t just be content in knowing enough to get by. Buckle down and work toward perfecting a passion. Become what you were always meant to become; A master.