4 Pillars Of Success

Imagine yourself as a gardener and your craft as a plant. What does it take for a flower to bloom? First, it takes some time.  Second, a gardener must take action by watering the soil and removing weeds. Third, a gardener must pay attention to her actions in order not to over-water the plant. Finally, a gardener must not get attached to the results of her labor but do her best for the plant.

We can use the same metaphor in mastering any craft. So whether you are trying to learn how to play piano, train a new puppy or learn a new language, the following four pillars can aid you in your journey.


4 Pillars Of Success 

How To Achieve Mastery in Any Endeavor

1) Time.

We must spend some quality time with our craft. It is counter-intuitive to our instant messaging, “get rich quick” culture. But, on the other hand, getting stuck in the rot of doing the same thing for 10,000 hours doesn’t work either. 

Forget About the 10,000 Hour Rule!

If you spend 10,000 hours of practice and learn as much as you can on the subject, you instantly become better at your chosen work.  

Well, according to Cal Newport, the author of the book Become So Good You Can’t Be Ignored, this formula won’t lead you to success. How long does it take for you to get good at things?The answer is, it depends.

You can attain mastery by taking sessions with a mentor who can continuously push you past your comfort zone. Or, you keep pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, rather than mindless repetitive practice. 


2) Non-Interruption or Sustained Attention.

I often talk about “sustained attention” since it is the ultimate goal of yoga. But also, the opposite of a sustained attention state is a scattered-brain state. In fact, I am pretty good at the latter.

The attentive mind state is when we get into the flow. The latter (scattered-brain) is when dreadful things happen. For instance, I am embarrassed to admit that I drove through the garage door during one of my scattered-brain moments. Not to mention overeating, falling, and losing things.

Interestingly, I just listened to Cals Newport’s interview with James Altucher, two of my favorite authors.

Here, Cal explained the phenomenon of “attention residue.” If you switch your attention from one target to another, the original target will leave a residue for a very long time. For example, writing deep and do a quick check of your email for 30 seconds. You see an email that you need to get into. And then you switch attention to writing. That 30-seconds check will be bouncing in your head for 10 to 20 minutes, the lab experiments show. During that time, your cognitive capacity will be lost. In other words, multi-tasking puts you into a state of continual reduced cognitive capacity. Constantly checking your phone and social media is equivalent to taking a drug that makes you dumber.


3) Take Action.

If I wait until I am motivated to take action, I end up never doing anything. To meet my goals, I must take daily actions. For me, it all starts with my morning therapy. So, no matter what happens for the rest of the day, I always feel like I’ve accomplished my top 3 priorities for the day.  

Science says: willpower is the highest in the morning. So, you should create a routine and start with your most important tasks as early as you can. The longer the day goes on, your self-control becomes more and more fatigued. So, make those early morning hours count.

The study shows that most successful people follow morning routines. Scott Adams engineered his routine to concentrate his creative energy into a few hours in the morning. Benjamin Franklin had some specific rules for how he started each morning. His three-hour block of morning routine stretched from 5:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m.  Billionaire John Paul DeJoria starts his day the same way, no matter where he is.


4) Non-Attachment to Results.

Mastery of the mind comes from practice and non-attachment.

Yoga Sutras 1.12

Personally, I am a result-driven individual. So when I first heard about the concept of non-attachment, I thought it was a bunch of “new-age” rubbish. However, it began to make sense as I learned to “focus on action with non-attachment to results.”

For instance, I enjoy the action of writing. So I spend lots of time creating content, researching the subject I am writing about, and editing. Then, of course, I love when my readers provide positive feedback and when new folks subscribe. But, even if no one reads my work, I still love the process and I always do my absolute best. The results of my labor, however, are not my primary focus.

To conclude:

To achieve mastery in your craft,  spend some uninterrupted and quality time with it, take action, pay attention, and don’t worry about the results! 


Thanks for stopping by!

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  1. Nice article, Anna! When it comes to the theory of 10,000 hours, many don’t realize there’s a difference between learning something and mastering it. Malcolm Gladwell observed the masters of their craft had spent an uncanny amount of time in reaching their high level. When it comes to actually learning something new, it could take as little as 20 hours as highlighted in this wonderful TedTalk https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5MgBikgcWnY

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