THE RAZOR'S EDGE

THE RAZOR'S EDGE

We tend to overestimate what we can do in a year
And underestimate what we can do in a decade.

We live in an instant gratification, quick fix society. Most want maximum returns for minimal investment. As we’ve discussed, things which come quickly, most frequently leave just as fast.

The qualities of mastery that we’ve been exploring in this series are rare to say the least. Very few are truly committed to this level of their own personal greatness.

That’s why those who develop mastery of their life and craft are like the mythological Pegasus… we hear a lot about them, we often see pictures, they inspire us, we fantasize, we hear tales, but we’re not sure they exist because they’re nowhere to be found, and we certainly will never ride or fly one.

We’ve discussed so many qualities and characteristics of mastery, and this series, is by no means, meant to be fully comprehensive. I submit if you’re at least considering committing to your own level of mastery and greatness, that at minimum, you review the entire series thus far.

If you’re truly committed to building and leaving your own legacy, then consider joining me and a group of similarly committed individuals for Life Unleashed Group Mentoring where we take these principles, immediately condition them, and put them into action in our lives.

This group mentoring is a comprehensive roll-up-your-sleeves and get to work experience where you learn the psychology as well as the technology of accessing your own Innate Ability, and unique purpose, to grow a business and do what you love.

Space is limited in this 10 month program. You can send an email here coaching@jamesray.com and speak with one of my team members if you’re interested.

By the way, you should know by now that if you want an easy, cushy life… I probably can’t help you. If however you want a masterful and meaningful life… a life that’s full of inspiration, enthusiasm and impact… then we’re kindred spirits. Let’s get started.

Mastering your life and craft is a lifelong commitment and pursuit, grounded in perseverance and relentless practice.

So we’ve been discussing the amount of practice and work necessary to develop mastery over the last two weeks. By now you should be familiar with Anders Eriksson’s 10,000 hours (reference MGG9) and the approximate 3 hours per day for 10 years that it takes to develop your mastery.

Please don’t be fooled into thinking that it ends at a mere 10,000 hours. It doesn’t. Geoff Colvin’s work shows that masters are still working to improve even 20 years after they’ve achieve a degree of mastery. Please read that again.

A master is willing to invest at least ten years in obscurity
to leave an eternal legacy.

Research shows the single medical profession that invariably continues to improve post-graduation and degree are surgeons. Why? In surgery a minute detail can mean the difference between life and death. The masterful surgeon must be alert and on his game. He realizes that incremental moves change the world. Something to ponder both literally and metaphorically.

These incremental moves are a Razor’s Edge principle that determine the difference between massive success and lack thereof. More on this in a moment.

Furthermore, it’s not just any practice as we’ve discussed, it’s what Eriksson and others have labeled as “deliberate practice.” Deliberate practice is not just going through the motions repeatedly… it’s repeatedly going through the motions of your craft with the sole (soul?) purpose of continuous improvement. Remember, incremental gains change the world.

The key to mastering your work is to do a lot of work.

If you’re going to become great you have to make “mistakes.” Now, I purposefully put that in quotes because I believe the word mistake is actually a term of art for the master. “Mistake” is a convenient label that we place upon things that we don’t like.

Let me give you an example:

I mentioned previously having dinner several years ago with the artistic genius Alexandra Nichita (reference MGG9). When sitting with a master, my strategy has always been to get inside their internal thoughts and feelings.

If you can learn and model the subjective experience, you can more likely create a similar objective experience. All objective external appearances are nothing more than the effect of an internal subjective cause. Something to ponder.

All external objective results are nothing but the effect
of an internal subjective cause.

I asked her if she ever made a mistake when painting, and if so, what did she do? She replied, “Yes I do; and I just assume it was supposed to happen and I work with it.”

I was taking notes furiously.

Please read her statement again.

Everything happens for a reason…
The hardest thing is waiting for the reason to appear!

My objective experience is that most of my ideas “don’t work,” again a term of art. For everything works for those on the path to mastery. Even the supposed biggest blunders and most painful suffering. Roll that over in your marvelous mind and swallow down hard.

Even when things don’t work as we would like, or don’t produce the results we want, we most often learn what gets us the results we want by getting what we don’t want. Now there’s a game changer. Swallow twice.

To the master, their single best teacher is their last “mistake.”
Then is it truly a mistake?

But how many ideas does it take to be masterful and hugely successful?

One.

But it takes countless effort and relentless practice. Please remember that those with the highest batting averages almost always have the most strike-outs as well. They’re taking more swings.

How about you?

Once again, the key to mastering your work is to do a lot of work. And not just any work, but smart, focused, deliberate, consistently improving work.

I was recently mentoring a very successful business owner. She and her husband were intending to take their company from a current level of $4.5M per year to $6M and beyond. I had her break down her day to me and tell me how she either spent or invested her time.

The greatest resource we have is our time; and there are only two things you can do with it—spend it, or invest it. Time spent is gone forever. Time invested brings a lifetime residual. Something to ponder.

The greatest assets you’ve been given are your mind and your energy.
The greatest resource you have is your time.

Masters understand this axiom and therefore don’t waste either asset or resource in frivolity. Something to ponder.

How are you utilizing your greatest assets and your greatest resource?

Anyway, what I quickly found was that she was definitely spending a large amount of her time on low leveraged activities. This is very common by the way… in fact, it’s epidemic. Consider this:

  • You spend approximately 33 1/3% of your entire life sleeping.
  • The average individual spends 18% of their life shaving, showering, fixing meals, eating and going to the bathroom.
  • Recent studies show that the average individual spends 3 hours and 15 minutes per day doing something on their phone. Staggering.
  • The average American spends 10 hours per week doing time wasting things which have nothing to do with their work. I.e. daydreaming, chatting with friends, checking social media and other time wasters.
  • On the average Americans spend a minimum of 7 hours per week watching television.

Are you thinking?

Just item one and two above alone amount to over 50% of your entire life!

“Most men lead lives of quiet desperation
and go to the grave with the song still in them.”
~ Henry David Thoreau

This is one more reason why masters tend to not spend their time socializing. Choosing instead to invest their time in networking. (reference MGG8)

Even if you live to be 125, time is short. And as you know it goes very, very quickly…

What are you doing with your share?

Tick tock.

So, in the course of a one hour mentoring session my client told me I helped her find “Thirty hours of productivity.”

Thirty!

And not in a year.

30 hours per week!

If she was not exaggerating, that completely counterbalances the time she sleeps given 6-7 hours per night! Think about it.

Staggering!

What could you do with an additional thirty hours of productivity per week?

Even if she was exaggerating somewhat… what could you do with just one additional hour?

Let me tell you…

When you find just one additional hour of productivity per day that equates to nine additional forty hour weeks of pure productivity in the next year.

Nine!

Forty hour weeks!

This is one of the many reasons I get my clients into the early morning crew. What I call the “Golden Window of Productivity.” (reference MGG6)

The difference between massive success and fulfillment,
and complete lack thereof, is not a deep chasm…
It’s as fine as a razor’s edge.

These small practices of efficiency and effectiveness are what I call Razor’s Edge activities. Masters are committed to the Razor’s Edge. They’re committed to doing small things consistently; and to doing them in a world-class fashion. Incremental gains change the world.

The Razor’s Edge can make all the difference in the world between living inspired, masterful and completely alive… and living expired, painfully bored and completely devoid of life.

What do you choose?

And the journey continues…

Stay Awake, Love Life, and Be Epic

james arthur ray

James

Permission to re-post my personal articles is granted with acknowledgment of the author, James Arthur Ray and a link back to this website. Thanks and Enjoy!

3 Responses

  1. I remember the questions I got wrong. Not the correct answer but the logic or set of assumptions I used to arrive at the wrong answer. The willingness to make mistakes and learn from failure suggests those that program failure and mistakes into their daily plan will learn more and sometimes discover new paths that were considered impossible, guaranteed failure, only to discover success… there are no accidents.

    A well adjusted person is one who makes the same mistake twice without getting nervous. – Alexander Hamilton

    The idea that doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result, is some kind of insanity needs to be questioned. The steady drip of failure will eventually move the mountain or drill a hole through it. Are you willing to produce a lifetime of supposed no results so someone else may experience the breakthrough? That is not normal. Success never is.

    He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would suffice. – Albert Einstein

    Thank you James for offering a different music score.

  2. Learning to distribute our time should be our main priority. But distractors are everywhere and are difficult to avoid. Thanks James for talking about commitment, Definitely if you want to do something important with your life, you need to take this journey seriously. Could be hard at the beginning but it is definitely worthy.

    Thanks James, a great lesson to ponder this week. (As usual)

  3. Striving for personal mastery… "Living a life that’s full of inspiration, enthusiasm and impact…" …Making your lasting mark… Yes….

    But ok…..wait… Back up… While that makes sense – as making the best use of your time does – the following does not make sense to me. I think you are mistaken James, (no pun intended). Please correct me if I am wrong.

    "Recent studies show that the average individual spends 3 hours and 15 minutes per day doing something on their phone. Over 1,500 hours per week just in this activity alone. Staggering." – JAR

    How can over 1,500 hours per week be spent in just one activity alone, when there are only 168 hours in a week to begin with? Now I'm confused… Does not compute…

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