This is one of the most important books ever written about the process of developing skills and achieving proficiency in anything. If you want to become really good at something in your life, no matter if it is arts, sports, relationship or career, you have to read this book. The principles described in “Mastery” are fundamental and can be applied to almost anything. Here are some takeaways from the book that I want to share with you.



We all have a common perception that only genius people become successful with luck on their side. The reason for this belief is that it is difficult to accept as true that an expert or a master is a normal human being like any of us. It easy to say that they are simply “gifted, lucky, rich, beautiful, etc”. It is hard to see patience, hard work, trial-and-errors, consistency, and often even injuries, behind their achievements.

We could be one of them too, but we are not exactly doing anything productive with our life. Valuable time is lost while we choosing between one interest and hobby to other but in the end, nothing more than average results are received. We get bored or frustrated too fast and eventually give up, failing to push ourselves further to the other side of the plateau.

Mastery is…mastery-by-george-leonard-key-takeaways

• A journey

• The process where what was difficult becomes easier

• A lifelong commitment to honing your skills

• Being goalless

• Realizing that the ultimate goal is the path to mastery itself

• Practicing, even when you seem to be getting nowhere

1. Be ready for a long yet exciting journey

According to research, a master spends ten thousand hours of practice before he arrives the top level. Can you see yourself doing that?Making ourselves believe that we could have achieved success by venturing on the path of mastery is difficult because it means that we are no different from talented people. You are not different than any “gifted” person. The majority of us choose not to see the bigger picture but opt for safe and lazy clarification of saying is successful people have got luck on their side.

2. There is no fast way to real mastery. It requires time and patience

From the spot on TV to the eye-catching title of a book guaranteeing amazing results with 5 minutes per day, it seems that everyone knows the magic spell and the magic bean is sold everywhere.  More than a half of the commercials, no matter what the subject is, are based on a climactic moment: the pie has already been baked; the skin is already glowing; the body is already in shape, etc. They never show time and effort behind that.


Why is it so? This is due to the reason that truth doesn’t sell and the marketing industry is well aware of that. Only a few people when looking at a real master are able to see that beyond his/her great success, there is a commitment, practice, surrender, and passion for the art which cannot be processed by an average person. #notaverage? Then try to dedicate yourself fully to your art and never give up.

3. What is plateau and why it is important to recognize it?

The plateau happens to be the time span in which you seem not to make any progress. Remember yourself working out and seeing no results? Or drawing and still not getting confidence in your strokes? Modern culture tells us that learning process is linear and that it can be instantaneous. That is not true at all. The real learning journey looks like this ??


What more could you possibly do in your life that happens to be more important than following your passions and dreams?

The path leading to mastery has no end and is filled with plateaus. The difference between the novice and master lies in the awareness and knowledge of it. Next time you feel stuck regardless of your hard work – remember, it could be a plateau and next progress leap is just ahead.

Why should you put so much of your time on a seemingly endless path? I suggest that one should choose something which he loves doing, something for which you could sacrifice to great lengths. And why not?

4. Don’t give up easily

In order to become a master, you need to learn to become a marathon runner. Most of us right now are just sprinters which finish the run after the first meters.

Cristiano Ronaldo is well-known to train by himself on the pitch while his teammates are in the shower already. If one of the maestros of football players can do it why not you and me?

5. Enjoy the practiceenjoy the process mastery by george leonard key takeaways

We are taught numerous ways to enjoy the climactic moment of victory, the prize, but the true essence of mastery is spent in the plateau. Learn to be happy in regular practices. The key is to practice for the sale of practice itself NOT for reaching a certain level. Though I had never been taught formally to draw, even then I used to spend hours and hours of sketching just to get the hang of a single technique. And that’s how I learned to lose myself in the process. The essence of boredom is to be found in the obsessive search for novelty. Satisfaction lies in mindful repetition, the discovery of endless richness in subtle variations on familiar themes.

6. Be ready to negotiate with your own resistance to change

The lifelong learner is essentially one who has learned to deal with homeostasis, simply because he or she is doing it all the time.

Hearing someone say I want to become successful is a deceiving statement. A lie rather. How come? The reason is that in order to make achievements you need to make changes.  The change means something new, and people are scared of the unknown. Our brain doesn’t really care if we are successful or unsuccessful, but what matters is that we stay still, stagnant. It is called homeostasis. Whenever your body feels any change, it will start resisting. So when you venture on your own path to success, be aware of your self-sabotage that would occur in the process of changing things.

7. Remember that the energy is derived from action

A human being is such a mechanism that wears out from lack of use. There are limits, of course, and we do need a certain amount of rest and relaxation, but more often we gain energy by utilizing energy. Often the best cure for physical weariness is half an hour of cardio exercise. In the same way, mental and spiritual lassitude is often cured by decisive action or the clear intention to act. We know from high school physics that kinetic energy is measured in terms of motion. The same thing is true of human energy: it comes into existence through use.

8. Admit failure & trust yourself

The biggest obstacle at the start of your journey towards achieving mastery will become something to laugh about if it arises again a few years later. Falling and failing is part of the process. Every time you fall down, you get up being stronger than before. In reality, each and every one of us, deep down is completely aware and knows exactly the right thing to do, but it is fear which keeps us from acting, as in most of the cases the right thing to do is actually the hardest thing to do. Indecision to start something long-term also could be slowing us down. Why you should put so much of your time on a seemingly endless path? I suggest that one should choose something which he loves doing, something for which he or she could sacrifice to great lengths. And why not?

What more could you possibly do in your life that happens to be more important than following your passions and dreams?



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