Is there a skill or trait that you want to be very good at? What about better than good? Mastery has many benefits, including feeling more fulfilled, achieving unconscious competency and being seen as a master of your craft by others, thus possibly leading to more business in your direction. According to scientific studies, if you do want to achieve mastery and, in general, be at the top of your game, there are a few common traits that are to be seen in those who succeed.
The Behaviors of a Master…
Some studies have specifically focused on the learning behaviors of a master, these being crucial to the eventual achievement of mastery in any field. A study from Western Oregon University compared the learning behaviors of those with mastery goals to those who had just performance goals, here are some of the characteristics they found:
- Those who seek mastery believe that competence is developed over time through hard work and practice, while those who had performance goals (or goals to avoid an outcome from negative performance) were more likely to believe that competence is an inbuilt trait.
- Those who solely want to meet performance objectives are only satisfied if they succeed, while those who seek mastery are satisfied if they show improvement.
- Every master requires a good teacher, and those who sought mastery saw teachers as a resource to learn from, while those who purely wanted to ‘pass’ or meet a performance objective saw teachers as punishers, rewarders or judges.
- In a school environment, masters were more likely to get involved with activities and the community whereas those who just wanted to pass were less likely to get involved.
So, in a nutshell, when studies focused on a learning environment, those who were set to achieve mastery were overall more engaged, more open to new ideas and people, and more willing to put the time in to master their craft. This brings up another point that has been emphasized in further behavioral studies; those who have achieved mastery tend to have made sacrifices to get there. They have actively chosen to pursue their field outside of the norm, whether that be out of regular working hours or perhaps not joining as many leisure activities as their friends. The message here seems to be participate, get involved with the community where you can contribute, meet and learn from others, but be prepared to be the person toughing it out learning while your friends or family are at parties or other activities.
“The happiness of a man in this life does not consist in the absence but in the mastery of his passions.” — Alfred Lord Tennyson
Ever wondered why successful masters seem to just keep achieving more successes? That old saying ‘success breeds success’ rings largely true. Those in the pursuit of mastery tend to find other doors opened to them as they meet and converse with others on their journey. People are more willing to support those who have drive and focus on their passions as these traits lead to success.
So be open to learning, celebrate your improvements, get others involved and practice, practice, practice! Once you achieve mastery you join a rarefied group who know the satisfaction of pursuing something to their fullest ability and achieving at levels most only dream of.