Mastery has long been linked to motivation and happiness. If we get good, really good at something, and have the opportunity to demonstrate our prowess, we will feel good about ourselves.
Globalisation has moved far faster than our brains have been able to evolve and this ‘mastery’ need is now causing problems in terms of identity and esteem. Whilst before people could feel mastery of a discipline by being the best in their relatively small social network, people can now too easily compare themselves to 5.5 billion others and guess what, you are probably going to be disappointed.
You learn to juggle, somebody else is on YouTube juggling with their feet whilst riding a unicycle. You get a personal best on a 10km run and you find a 90 year old granny with a triple heart bypass has run it a minute faster on Strava.
If you don’t learn to harness your ‘mastery need’, you could end up feeling disappointed and a non-achiever and limit your chances of actually reaching mastery in any area. The more you feel that you are not achieving, the safer you will play and the less you will achieve; a vicious circle of failure.
We have put together some of the best advice from our performance team on how to break the cycle of failure and be the best you can….whilst being happy!
Limit the scope and set achievable goals
If you want to be the most ‘whatever’ in the world you are highly likely to fail. Be prepared to be disappointed, not fulfil your dreams, and lose your motivation. Those who hit the very top often set out their stall from an early age. That is fine, but give yourself stepping stones along the way and relish in the success of these. Be tenacious but not foolish. Recognise when you have hit a ceiling and be happy where you are or look for other challenges. By all means aim to be the best in the world at something if you are convinced, based on understanding the field, that you have what it takes. But enjoy the journey and don’t let the unrelenting pursuit of excellence make you bitter.
Do it for the passion
Do things you enjoy doing, and do them for the passion, the pride and the enjoyment – not for any other reason If you are too ambitious in a pursuit that brings you joy, you may lose the passion that drew you to it in the first place.
Learn to be a Master
You have probably heard of the 10,000 hour rule; that if you spend 10,000 hours practicing something then you will become an expert. This is based on research into concerto violinists by a top Swedish psychologist called Anders Ericsson. The point being that to get good at something you need to put in the time and effort. Don’t be guilty of staring at the sky day dreaming when you could be getting down to the hard work of being a master of your pursuit.
So rather than reflecting on what you haven’t managed to achieve yet. Take time to reflect every now and then on what you have achieved if you want to stay happy and enjoy your accomplishments.
Fieri Leadership provide leadership training and consultancy to leading businesses and sports teams. To find out more visit www.fierileadership.com