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.

black and white man sitting facing backwards


We live in instant gratification, quick-fix society. Most want maximum returns for minimal investment. As we’ve discussed, things that 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 #ProjectStayHome The Ultimate Performance Forum 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 psychology as well as the technology of accessing your own Innate Ability, and unique purpose, to grow a business and do what you love.

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.

lady working late at night

The amount of practice and work is necessary to develop mastery. By now you should be familiar with Anders Eriksson’s 10,000 hours 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 achieved 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.

man sitting meditating facing the sunset

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 determines 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.

black and white man talking to workmate

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. 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.

infinity loop

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!

man waiting while standing holding a luggage

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.

The Razor’s Edge JAR

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


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 mentored a very successful business owner in the past. 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.

old watch with gold numbers

What are you spending your time to? Where does your Energy flows? Read more about Epic Productivity and Time here.

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 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!

Henry David Thoreau“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.

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.”


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.


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.


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.”

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.

james arthur ray and flow

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…

Be a Leader. Live Your Purpose; and Take Your Power Back!

james arthur ray



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