What does it take to be the best in your field?
Perhaps some people are just naturally capable and smarter than the rest of us? But Robert Greene, author of The 48 Laws of Power (2000) and his latest book Mastery (2012) would disagree. According to him “exceptional talent is about hard work.”
He says that there is no such thing as being born into superior success. Rather, those who rise above the rest in their field, achieving what Greene calls a “high-level intuitive feel” for their specialty, have an obdurate focus and work ethic.
He has himself applied this standard, apparently putting more than 20,000 hours into researching and writing his last five books.
Part of what makes Greene popular is that he studies powerful people and distils this knowledge it into processes so that others can emulate it.
Here are five recommendations from Greene for anyone who is eager to be the next Streve Jobs:
1. Chose a topic to focus on that you are deeply in love with – “Masters and highly successful people are emotionally and personally engaged in their work”
2. Learn by doing – “The best way to become an entrepreneur is to try building businesses.”
3. Don’t focus on making money in your 20’s – “Tune out the idea of making your first million. It’s about learning. You are there to accumulate as much experience building a business and you may want to build several, if possible.”
4. When you have some experience, select a mentor – “You want somebody who matches your spirit.”
5. Be flexible and creative – “Building a company will inevitably confront you with unexpected challenges, and your ability to adjust your path to deal with those surprises is critical.”
Do you agree with Greene’s view that mastery is available to anyone who is prepared to work hard for it? What about the 5 areas of mastery – can you think of any others? Please share your views below.