We live in the age of information overload. The majority of us consume more stimulate then any time period before. We are being bombarded everyday with things that we can consume quickly. This is much like consuming lots of fast food. It's convenient, you feel somewhat satisfied for a bit, but overtime it will most likely kill you. This is exactly what happens to you mentally and in your business if you become someone who picks consumption over mastery.
Mastery is when you become an expert in something. It's performing at the highest level. It requires you to actually put in the work, fully read the manual, think about it, digest it, test it, question it, apply it, and observe it. Mastery requires you to focus all your abilities on one thing at a time. For many of us we can hardly sit without pulling out our phones to fill the brief moments in life when we don't have something going on. We are training ourselves to not be able to focus on one thing. We are training ourselves to consume and never master anything.
I truly believe that the lack of ability to focus on one thing and invest into one thing at a time causes the mind and body to feel unstable, anxious, and puts us always on edge. We never allow ourselves to actual deal with what is happening right in front of us when we always have something else to preoccupy our minds.
Mastery has become one of my main goals in life when I approach new things. I focus on one part of the new thing. Maybe with working out, it's focusing months on learning how to have proper form when I run or lift. With music, I focus for months or as long as it takes to listen more accurately, to learn more specifically about what I already think I have mastered (no pun intended). In life, I have stopped trying to fix all of my shortcomings at once and now focus on one thing at a time.
For years I just consumed things. I've always had an addictive personality. I don't know if it's hard wired into me or if it's a result of the culture but I have always consumed things at a large rate. I have had to fully kill that desire to consume and focus all my energy into mastery. When you begin to master things a huge shift starts to happen. Things become muscle memory. What once was super hard becomes a part of your daily life.
In business the more I master one thing at a time, the more my business thrives. I stopped trying to put all my efforts into ten things and focused on one thing at a time. Once I felt like I became an expert in one thing, then I would move onto the next thing. This is hard. It takes time. It requires you to endure, persevere and sit in the uncomfortableness of not being amazing at things in life. It requires you to purposefully find the flaws in your skill and your shortcomings and then seeing those as not personal attacks on yourself but simply as things you can still improve on. The ability to learn and change is one of the greatest gifts we have as humans.
If you feel overloaded and bloated with information yet feel more scattered and unstable I want to challenge you to shut off all the toxic consumption and focus on one thing. Let that one thing consume you. Let it become the single task that all your energy goes towards. What you learn is that things actually don't take that long to master, we have just created a society that has our attention spread in ten different ways that things seem to take forever. It's like when you try to download five different things from the internet at one time. Each time you click on a new thing to download it takes longer and longer. One thing takes three minutes to download but if you click on five things all of a sudden it jumps to an hour. Your computer as a whole has to work harder and now you're thinking about five different things. This is exactly how our brains work. If we start up five tasks at one time, mentally we can not handle it. This creates instability, lack of focus and we become sloppy and tired quickly, but if we focus on just one thing at a time we begin to knock things out, momentum picks up and soon we are accomplishing things more efficiently then ever before.
Mastery frees up a ton of mental space because as you master certain things in life they no longer require your full attention. They are running in the background, almost unconsciously. You can literally develop new brain pathways that allow you to perform better, think better, and become more accurate and precise in your life. In order to do this you have to be willing to spend the time carving out the new path. For those that do not spend time mastering things, clearing out a new path is extremely difficult because there are so many things in the way. There may be overgrown bushes or fallen trees, there may be multiple paths leading to no where or off a cliff, there could be toxic things in the soil that are dangers to be around, all these things are in the way of making a new clear pathway. Mastery teaches you how to make clear pathways. It teaches you how to get rid off the old and let the new growth have a chance to live.
When I made this shift in my life, things became easier. It was super hard to retrain my brain and break literally lifelong habits that have such a hold on me, but it's possible to do it. I challenge you this week to focus on one thing at a time. Don't jump on social media or answer a text if you're busy working. Don't interrupt your flow and focus because you run into something difficult. Sit in the difficulty, learn from it, persevere thru it. For me, I had to learn how to just be. I had to go back to the basics of being able to just sit in public without my phone in front of my face. I had to start over and recalibrate what it means to be a human around other humans before I even started to try and master other things in life. Laying down foundational things like that makes mastering other things far easier. Never skip a step because it's hard. Work at it and soon you will be a master at it.