Monday, November 14, 2011

The Biggest Mistake We Make In Mastering Any Skill

Yesterday I wrote about how mastery begins with finding a master. Today I wanted to talk about the next step in the process and that is actually applying what the master teaches. This is how you learn to master anything. Find a teacher, do exactly what the master says and have success. With all the knowledge out there and all of the successful people who have been willing to share their knowledge with us, why then aren't more people successful?

That certainly seems like a reasonable question. So really then, why aren't more people successful at a lot of stuff?

The biggest mistake that I have observed people make is that they don't trust what the master teaches and therefore don't act on their instructions and follow them exactly as taught. I have heard on many occasions that people make excuses like, "well that might work for them, but in my situation that won't work because" and other excuses similar to that.

You can probably even think of situations you have been in where you have been involved in teaching someone something and have heard exactly that.

I certainly have been guilty of this kind of thinking from time to time. It's easy to come up with reasons why certain things won't work.

Why is it then that we find people who are good at things and then refuse to do exactly what they say?

I guess there are a few reasons this is the case. First of all, anything that we do requires effort. Effort is hard work. Anything that takes effort is easy to talk yourself out of. And it's also easier to find other people who say they are masters that promise you that you can do it with guess what - less effort. That then, moves your focus to the next master and so on.

If you are like me, you'll do just about anything to avoid doing anything you don't want to do. It's human nature.

But this lazy trait we all have dilutes the masters message. It causes us to not follow instructions step by step. And what happens is that we don't achieve the same result. After that we criticize that masters instructions because obviously, it was the masters instructions that were the problem and not our application of them.

The other reason we don't follow instructions exactly as taught is that for some reason psychologically we think we know more than the master. We think this even though there is no evidence that we are. It's just our belief system.

Only success better than the master proves you are better than the master. Knowledge of mastery doesn't prove you have mastered anything. Only application of that knowledge in a manner better than the master does.

The moral of the story today: When learning from the master, do exactly as they say until you have duplicated their success. Only then modify it to suit your own tastes - once you are the master.

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Michael Kuhn

Black Belt Project: Build Mental Strength

1 comments so far


You really hit the nail on the head. I recently have been guilty of all of these sins, much to my surprise.

I was wondering if you would be kind enough to give me some advice:

Regarding sales specifically. I read that you organize each "potential" and client as their own project. Do you also have a project folder just for prospecting? If so how do you organize your prospecting "project"?

More importantly, do you have a checklist for prospecting, like you do for other tasks? I'm struggling with this myself as I think having a checklist would really help me. For example I think I need to set aside time to practice what I say everyday since I'm new, time to organize my leads and CRM ect.? Right now I swing wildly from busy on the phone, to procrastinating by dealing with a completely unorganized mess.

Thank you!