“You are born with a particular makeup and tendencies that mark you as a piece of fate. It is who you are to the core. Some people never become who they are; they stop trusting in themselves; they conform to the tastes of others, and they end up wearing a mask that hides their true nature. If you allow yourself to learn who you really are by paying attention to that voice and force within you, then you can become what you were fated to become—an individual, a Master.” ~ Robert Greene, 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
“In moving toward mastery, you are bringing your mind closer to reality and to life itself. Anything that is alive is in a continual state of change and movement. The moment that you rest, thinking that you have attained the level you desire, a part of your mind enters a phase of decay. You lose your hard-earned creativity and others begin to sense it. This is a power and intelligence that must be continually renewed or it will die.” ~ Robert Greene, Mastery
“You must see your attempt at attaining mastery as something extremely necessary and positive. The world is teeming with problems, many of them of our own creation. To solve them will require a tremendous amount of effort and creativity. Relying on genetics, technology, magic, or being nice and natural will not save us. We require the energy not only to address practical matters, but also to forge new institutions and orders that fit our changed circumstances. We must create our own world or we will die from inaction.” ~ Robert Greene, Mastery
“Everyone holds his fortune in his own hands, like a sculptor the raw material he will fashion into a figure. But it’s the same with that type of artistic activity as with all others: We are merely born with the capability to do it. The skill to mold the material into what we want must be learned and attentively cultivated.” ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, via Mastery
“Perhaps you have never thought about it, but on one level or another, all of us are masters. We are masters because we have the power to create and to rule our own lives.” ~ Don Miguel Ruiz, The Mastery of Love
“You can’t learn if you think you already know. You will not find the answers if you’re too conceited and self-assured to ask the questions. You cannot get better if you’re convinced you are the best.” ~ Ryan Holiday, Ego is the Enemy
“We don’t like thinking that someone is better than us. Or that we have a lot left to learn. We want to be done. We want to be ready. We’re busy and overburdened. For this reason, updating your appraisal of your talents in a downward direction is one of the most difficult things to do in life – but it is almost always a component of mastery. The pretense of knowledge is our most dangerous vice, because it prevents us from getting any better. Studious self-assessment is the antidote.” ~ Ryan Holiday, Ego is the Enemy
“Self-mastery is the DNA of life mastery.” ~ Robin S. Sharma, The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari
“Self-mastery and the consistent care of one’s mind, body, and soul are essential to finding one’s highest self and living the life of one’s dreams. How can you care for others if you cannot even care for yourself? How can you do good if you don’t even feel good? I can’t love you if I cannot love myself.” ~ Robin S. Sharma, The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari
The following is an excerpt from Budo Secrets – Teachings of the Martial Arts Masters by John Stevens
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Water is the source of wisdom; swimming is the mother of all the arts.
Children should be introduced to the sea as early as possible. Rather than being strictly “taught” how to float and swim, they should be unobtrusively guided at first in order to allow them to gradually acquaint themselves with the mystery of water.
Body and mind must remain flexible. A calm mind is the single most important element of successful training. A swimmer must avoid struggling against the water, against him- or herself, or against others. A trainee must strive to harmonize him- or herself with the waves, becoming one with the body of water, be it a pond, lake, river, or ocean. Ride the waves with your mind as well as your body.
There are four levels of mastery, symbolized by the four seasons. In spring, the raw swimmer, bursting with energy and eager to compete, needs discipline and hard physical training. In summer, the experienced swimmer, now at his or her physical peak, should explore the full dimensions of the art. In autumn, the mature swimmer can relax a bit, sporting more freely in the water, and reflect on past experiences. By winter, a true swimmer has become a wise old master, beyond the limits of victory or defeat, in perfect harmony with the sea, sky, and shore.
Swimming teaches us how to live properly. There is no way a solitary swimmer can impose his or her selfish will on the water. Swimming against the current will ultimately result in disaster. Swim with the flow without strain, resistance, confusion, or unnatural movement.
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“We cannot master everything, taste everything, understand everything, drain every experience to its last dregs. But if we have the courage to let almost everything else go, we will probably be able to retain the one thing necessary for us – whatever it may be. If we are too eager to have everything, we will almost certainly miss even the one thing we need.” ~ Thomas Merton, Monk
“It is well known that expert meditators develop the capacity to see life in slow motion, observing objects (including their own thoughts) in minute detail, as if seeing every individual frame of a movie. It turns out that masters in every field develop the same capacity. Master baseball players, for example, when at bat, see the ball coming at them as if in slow motion – even though the ball is actually traveling 90 miles an hour. Not only can the master batter see the ball in ‘individual frame’ detail, but he can at the same time see the meaning of those details. How low is the ball to the ground? Over what quadrant of the plate will it pass? Is it spinning? In what direction? How will all of this detail influence my decision about how and where I want to hit the ball? This is mastery.” ~ Stephen Cope, The Great Work of Your Life
“[The Master] doesn’t glitter like a jewel… [but is] as rugged and common as a stone.” ~ Lao Tzu, Tao te Ching
“Our work can be motivated by obligation, by hunger for the external rewards of accomplishment, or by strongly reinforced ideas about who we should be in this lifetime. But none of these motivations has the authentic energy required for mastery of a profession.” ~ Stephen Cope, The Great Work of Your Life