—— —— ——
The following is an excerpt from the book Mastery by Robert Greene. In it, he discusses his strategies for dealing with fools in a way that allows you to keep focused on moving forward on your path towards personal mastery. The path is long and arduous and the last thing you want is for some fools along the way to distract you, demotivate you, or bring you down to their level. Read on and level up!
—— —— ——
In the course of your life you will be continually encountering fools. There are simply too many to avoid.
We can classify people as fools by the following rubric: when it comes to practical life, what should matter is getting long-term results, and getting the work done in as efficient and creative a manner as possible. That should be the supreme value that guides people’s actions. But fools carry with them a different scale of values.
“Your emotional commitment to what you are doing will be translated directly into your work. If you go at your work with half a heart, it will show in the lackluster results and in the laggard way in which you reach the end. If you are doing something primarily for money and without a real emotional commitment, it will translate into something that lacks a soul and that has no connection to you. You may not see this, but you can be sure that the public will feel it and that they will receive your work in the same lackluster spirit it was created in. If you are excited and obsessive in the hunt, it will show in the details. If your work comes from a place deep within, its authenticity will be communicated.” ~ Robert Greene, Mastery
“The human mind is naturally creative, constantly looking to make associations and connections between things and ideas. It wants to explore, to discover new aspects of the world, and to invent. To express this creative force is our greatest desire, and the stifling of it the source of our misery. What kills the creative force is not age or a lack of talent, but our own spirit, our own attitude. We become too comfortable with the knowledge we have gained in our apprenticeships. We grow afraid of entertaining new ideas and the effort that this requires. To think more flexibly entails a risk—we could fail and be ridiculed. We prefer to live with familiar ideas and habits of thinking, but we pay a steep price for this: our minds go dead from the lack of challenge and novelty; we reach a limit in our field and lose control over our fate because we become replaceable.” ~ Robert Greene, Mastery
“It is a simple law of human psychology that your thoughts will tend to revolve around what you value most. If it is money, you will choose a place for your apprenticeship that offers the biggest paycheck. Inevitably, in such a place you will feel greater pressures to prove yourself worthy of such pay, often before you are really ready. You will be focused on yourself, your insecurities, the need to please and impress the right people, and not on acquiring skills. It will be too costly for you to make mistakes and learn from them, so you will develop a cautious, conservative approach. As you progress in life, you will become addicted to the fat paycheck and it will determine where you go, how you think, and what you do. Eventually, the time that was not spent on learning skills will catch up with you, and the fall will be painful.” ~ Robert Greene, Mastery
“The road to mastery requires patience. You will have to keep your focus on five or ten years down the road, when you will reap the rewards of your efforts. The process of getting there, however, is full of challenges and pleasures. Make your return to the path a resolution you set for yourself, and then tell others about it. It becomes a matter of shame and embarrassment to deviate from this path. In the end, the money and success that truly last come not to those who focus on such things as goals, but rather to those who focus on mastery and fulfilling their Life’s Task.” ~ Robert Greene, Mastery
“In dealing with your career and its inevitable changes, you must think in the following way: You are not tied to a particular position; your loyalty is not to a career or a company. You are committed to your Life’s Task, to giving it full expression. It is up to you to find it and guide it correctly. It is not up to others to protect or help you. You are on your own.” ~ Robert Greene, Mastery
“The misery that oppresses you lies not in your profession but in yourself! What man in the world would not find his situation intolerable if he chooses a craft, an art, indeed any form of life, without experiencing an inner calling? Whoever is born with a talent, or to a talent, must surely find in that the most pleasing of occupations! Everything on this earth has its difficult sides! Only some inner drive—pleasure, love—can help us overcome obstacles, prepare a path, and lift us out of the narrow circle in which others tread out their anguished, miserable existences!” ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, via Mastery
“You possess a kind of inner force that seeks to guide you toward your Life’s Task—what you are meant to accomplish in the time that you have to live. In childhood this force was clear to you. It directed you toward activities and subjects that fit you natural inclinations, that sparked a curiosity that was deep and primal. In the intervening years, the force tends to fade in and out as you listen more to parents and peers, to the daily anxieties that wear away at you. This can be the source of your unhappiness—your lack of connection to who you are and what makes you unique. The first move toward mastery is always inward—learning who you really are and reconnecting with that innate force. Knowing it with clarity, you will find your way to the proper career path and everything else will fall into place. It is never too late to start this process.” ~ Robert Greene, Mastery
“It is so easy to make a life and a career out of sitting in the bleachers… There are people who have amazing gifts, who could make the world an incredibly better place, who won’t put their work out there for [fear of judgement]. And that’s a loss. And whether we know what that work was or not, we miss it and grieve it every day. There are songs that we need to hear, there are stories that need to be told, that we’ll never see or know because there are so many people out there who are so reflectively cynical and critical and mean-spirited. I don’t like it.” ~ Brené Brown, via How To Live A Good Life
“What if you don’t so much have a passion or purpose as much as you pursue something, or a bunch of things, with passion and a sense of purpose? And what if the deeper you get into that exploration or pursuit and the more competent you become, the more interested you get in doing and learning and discovering on a fiercer, more engaged, dare I say a more ‘passionate’ or ‘purposeful’ way?” ~ Jonathan Fields, How To Live A Good Life
“Simple truth: fast and busy are a choice. We choose to go fast and be busy because we think it’ll get us what we want. All too often, it doesn’t. Fast and busy makes life brittle. It makes us feel like every inch of space in life is locked in and there’s no room to move. Instead of unlocking productivity and potential, it throttles both. It deludes us into feeling like we’re getting more done faster, but in reality, we could get the same done in the same or less time with more grace by dialing it back, not forward. In the end, we’re left feeling dissatisfied and helpless to extract ourselves from the process. Except we’re not. It’s all an illusion.” ~ Jonathan Fields, How To Live A Good Life
“Research shows that once one is able to provide for basic physical needs (food, shelter, and so on), the correlation between happiness and worldly success quickly approaches zero. So if you’re starving and living on the street in the middle of India, an extra ten thousand dollars a year would affect your happiness a lot. But if you’re sitting pretty in the middle class in a developed country, an extra ten thousand dollars per year won’t affect anything much—meaning that you’re killing yourself working overtime and weekends for basically nothing.” ~ Mark Mason, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck