Mastery Hack

Mastery Hack

Mastery and greatness are not born, they are made.

woman writing down

Lewis Terman, the pioneer in educational psychology from Stanford graduate school of education, has conducted the most comprehensive research on “gifted and talented” individuals.

His research found that the majority of the most “gifted” individuals accomplished little to nothing in the world.

The more predictive factor of success and accomplishment was none other than work ethic.

What I like to call grit.

Your grit is more important than your gifts and genetics combined.

senior male turner working on lathe machine in workshop

Mastery, leadership and greatness are not the private preserve of the gifted few.

Genetics and gifts do not make an Arnold Schwarzenegger…

A Pablo Picasso…

A John Coltrane…

An Albert Einstein…

Or a Kobe Bryant.

They certainly contribute to performance but do not make performance.

Big difference

Mastery is the direct result of the consistency and quality of your practice.

This takes what Dr. Anders Ericsson, in his 10,000 hours research on elite performance, calls “deliberate practice”

Greatness is the direct result of the consistency and quality of your practice.
The quality of your practice determines the quality of your performance.


To hack your way to productivity and elite performance you have to understand two critical factors:

  1. You will only have the potential for greatness and mastery in an area in which you have an inherent ability and skill. Arnold had good genetics for building muscle, Kobe had physiological coordination and skill, Einstein had spatial and mathematical intelligence. But genetics and talent are not enough.
  2. You must devote your entire life to mastery of your unique ability; and you must practice in a certain way. It’s not what you do that determines your success, greatness and mastery—it’s how you do it.

It’s not what you do that determines your success, greatness and mastery.
It’s how you do it.MadreTeresadeCalcut

A major hack in deliberate practice is understanding “feedback loops” and to tighten these loop as tightly as possible.

Let me give you an example.

When Kobe Bryant was invited to be a member of the Dream Team for the 2012 Olympic Games, he immediately got to work.

Now please understand that he was already Kobe Bryant. Inarguably one of the, if not the, greatest basketball players of all time.

Didn’t matter.

Practice is not just something you do to become great.
Practice is what you do when you’re already great to become greater.

person crafting string instrument

We’ve discussed this example previously but it bears repeating.

Kobe awakened at 4 AM every single day.

From 4:30 AM until 6 AM he ran wind sprints.

From 6 to 7 he lifted weights…

For the purposes of discussion on a mastery hack, here’s where it gets interesting:

From 8 AM until 11 AM he shot 800 jump shots.

Now think about this daily ritual beyond Kobe’s commitment and tenacity.

What’s the feedback loop (time it takes to receive feedback from action to result) on a jump shot?

Shoot, swish. – Shoot, bank. – Shoot, rim. – Shoot, miss.

The feedback on a jump shot comes about as immediately as you can imagine. Within seconds.

Kobe was able to adjust his stance, his thrust, his wrist, his jump, his angle, and his focus almost instantly.

So the mastery and greatness hack?

Balance and mastery cannot coexist in the same space. Learn the difference here.

Shorten the feedback loop on whatever you’re setting out to accomplish.

Make it as tight and immediate as possible.

This allows you to act, analyze and adjust very quickly.

If a commercial jet was consistently off course by only one degree between Los Angeles and New York it would miss NYC by over 40 miles.

If the plane was not consistently analyzing and adjusting, it would never hit the target.

A plane consistently adjusts again and again after leaving LA to hit its target in NYC.

Literally it wobbles its way to NYC, it does not fly in a straight line.




Act again.

Consistently tighten your feedback loops.

Be masterful and great.

Stay Awake, Love Life and Be Epic!



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