All of us want to be good at what we do, and the ambitious of us often want to in fact be the very best at it too. To master a subject or a skill means to be able to be completely competent and confident in a particular domain and this is a great feeling that’s highly empowering. Then you can become a teacher, and you can rub shoulders with the other greats in order to walk among the giants of your subject. You will become an inspiration and a mentor and this can really give you a sense of purpose and value.
At the same time by mastering a particular subject, it is possible to then begin to break new ground and to contribute to the field which is a way to immortalize yourself and to leave a lasting legacy; a great way to achieve the kind of self-actualization that many of us crave.
But what does it take to become a master of a subject? And how should you go about training yourself to that level? Here we will look at eight steps you can take to become a master.
Choose Your Field
First of all it sounds obvious, but you need to very carefully choose the field you want to become a master in. This is something that requires the upmost caution and consideration, because as you will see it takes an incredible amount of dedication to become a true master, and if you are going to maintain the necessary enthusiasm then you need to be passionate on the subject and you need to maintain that passion. Choose the field, and then learn to really appreciate it and what it means.
Read Everything You Can
Next you need to make sure that you begin to absorb as much information as you possibly can. This means that you should create a reading list that you can then follow in order to learn everything on the subject step by step. They say that there are two types of person who can contribute something new to a field – the person who knows barely anything (as their views are not colored by the views and interpretations of those who have gone before them) and the person who knows everything (because they have all the information before them and can weigh it up equally). Your goal is to become the latter.
It is not enough to simply read however, you also need to get involved and to ‘do’. Want to be a runner? Then get out there and get running. Want to be an electronic engineer? Then start tinkering. There are many sources that report it takes 10,000 hours of practice (2 hours a day, 7 days a week, for 14 years) in order to become a master of something. Of course this is very arbitrary because it depends on the subject, on your effort during those hours and on your natural propensity. Fair to say though that you will develop more if you practice more. So start now and do as much as you possibly can.
Do it as Your Job
This won’t always be possible, but if you can make your field your job as a researcher, athlete, engineer or whatever else, then you will learn a lot more because you will be able to do it every day and because you will be required to maintain a certain professional level. If you can’t make it your job then at least take up a class or join a club.
Surround Yourself With Other Experts
One of the very best ways to learn and to develop is to surround yourself with other pros on the subject. The higher the caliber of the people you surround yourself with, the sooner you will start to become a master yourself.
Another way to elevate yourself and to test yourself is to compete, as this way you will be able to find your flaws and you will be forced to train yourself to a certain degree. The tougher the opponents you go up against of course the faster you’ll improve. If your chosen endeavour doesn’t lend itself to competition then there are other ways to test yourself and this is something you should do often.
If you teach a subject then you will find that you quickly learn more as a result. You will be in a position of authority, but you will be looking at the existing information through fresh eyes helping you to constantly test your knowledge and expand it.
Finally to make the leap to becoming a true master, you should try to change the paradigm. By making some kind of breakthrough or discovery or inventing a new style of category, you will develop your own area where you are the undisputed master and pioneer.