Self-mastery, a journey worth the effort, is a daily practice. Self-Mastery and staying on course toward your mission requires continual self-assessment and self-awareness. Keep your favorite books, blogs, and quotes nearby and reread them for insight and inspiration. As we grow and evolve, how we interpret and synthesize information does as well. I have read all my favorite books more than once. Arguably the world’s most famous life coach, Tony Robbins, said he’s read As a Man Thinketh by James Allen more than a dozen times. I also read Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich about that many times. I have also read spiritual texts, the Bible, the Bhagavad Gita, and the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali many times. You can also emulate the actions of people who inspire you and have lived in a manner aligned with your vision—Nelson Mandela, Gandhi, Jesus, Buddha, Mother Theresa, and Malala Yousafzai. Take a moment to pause and write a list of three people who inspire you. Use th
e heroes you know and their qualities as examples to hone in on your values and ethics.
If you stop to notice, heroes are everywhere and aren’t always famous, well-known people. They’re on the frontlines as soldiers in wartime and as EMTs, nurses, and doctors throughout the pandemic. They’re teaching your kids and starting nonprofits to fight racism, male-on-female violence, and illiteracy. Some of these heroes are kids who’ve found their calling early and started lemonade stands to fight cancer and have donated their allowance to buy food for people experiencing homelessness, in the case of young Austin and his Show Love Foundation.
Staying on target with your unique calling means mastering the following virtues. I’ve coupled them into soft and hard virtues, kind of like yin and yang, where yin is inner: reflection, potential, feminine, flowing, and yang is outer: action, performance, masculine, rigid. When you find balance, each of these couplets becomes an infinity loop, flowing back and forth unrestricted. Part of the Kokoro mindset is appreciating the flow instead of struggling between being one way or another.
- Simplicity and Boldness: When you develop a plan, your brain will try to be clever and make things more complex than they need to be. Steve Jobs was a great proponent of simplicity in Apple’s products. But take your simple plan and be bold. Elon Musk has a clear and simple vision for his companies but backs it with an extraordinarily brave attitude and approach. That’s a warrior virtue. (FYI: I’m using “warrior” as a general moniker here and not referring to an archetype.)
- Excellence and Non-Attachment: A warrior strives for excellence. “Day by day, I’m getting better and better.” That’s the warrior’s mantra. As James Clear recommends in his international bestseller, Atomic Habits, you want to strive for consistent 1-percent improvements daily. The soft side of this mindset is non-attachment to your achievements. Enjoy the journey. Non-attachment leads to humility.
- Drive and Contentment: The warrior is driven to master their craft. But often, people with drive are malcontents. Author, entrepreneur, career strategy coach, and my friend, Dan Sullivan, says in The Gap and the Gain that malcontent people haven’t navigated the gap properly. You should be measuring your progress against where you started, not where you want to go. The progress gap fuels you with momentum, energy, and confidence.
Our path is our responsibility and choice. Next week I will share a few more couplets that I have found useful in my exploration of Self-mastery. Have an uncommon and amazing week!