(2 minute read)

“Don’t measure your life with someone else’s ruler.”

Kevin Kelly

Just over 2 years ago, we shared a blog post on the ‘Quest for Mastery’, which was both well-received and broadly shared amongst a wider audience than our amazing subscriber base. (You can read the original blog here).

While we continue to enthusiastically support any quest for self-development, and self-improvement, we need to be transparent in the level of effort and commitment required to reach the lofty heights of ‘mastery’.

In his recent bestseller, ‘Excellent Advice for Living – wisdom I wish I’d known earlier’, author and thought-leader Kevin Kelly reminds us that for success to be more attainable, we need to keep showing up. In fact, most success is attained by persistence, grafting, and persevering through setbacks and periods of underperformance.

“There are 2 key errors on the way to mastery; not beginning, and not persisting.”

Those who do achieve the elite status of mastery – those not gifted with extraordinary genetic traits to achieve great things – can tell you of the challenges, setbacks, obstacles, hiccups, and roadblocks they encountered along the way.

Most individuals who now present as elite, have experienced the frustrations, challenges, and rejections along the way – yet they stayed their course.

  • J.K. Rowling had her story about a young wizard rejected many times by various publishers, before it was accepted. (The rest is literary history).
  • Vincent Van Gogh sold only 2 paintings during his lifetime. His legacy is all the other artworks he created and left for us to appreciate, post-mortem.
  • (Sir) James Dyson persisted for over 5,100 prototypes of his iconic bagless vacuum before nailing it – and a net worth of over $4 billion.

Jerry Seinfeld, Oprah Winfrey, Walt Disney, Michael Jordan, and Elvis Presley are amongst the extensive and exhaustive list of individuals who continued, despite rejections and obstacles.

Attaining excellence or mastery in any pursuit or passion requires a level of dedication and commitment which much of the population finds just too hard, which is why we view those who achieve this ‘status’ to be worthy of our appreciation.


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