In Robert Greene’s book Mastery he talks about how we as humans are hardwired to master skills and subjects that we are naturally drawn to. Greene believes that the things that consumed your interest as a child are the skills you are intended to master. This is what you are supposed to do in life. As a child, you wouldn’t have been able to explain why you were drawn to certain things, there was just something that resonated with you.
Think about this from the “dumb jock” stereotype. Remember that kid in school who wasn’t the brightest bulb in the classroom, but on the playing field looked like a genius? This person became a great athlete because they were passionate about becoming a great athlete (and their individual genetics may have helped a little too). If they had the same passion for the academic subjects in school, they probably would have been a half-decent student as well.
Mastery is achieved because the skill/subject is a passion and not a fleeting interest. It doesn’t feel like work, but rather a purpose or calling. As we grow up we lose sight of what we truly were passionate about in search of a steady paycheck and a false sense of security. But what if you could talk to your childhood self now? Would your childhood self be happy with where you are in life? What were your passions as a child? How many of those passions are still important to you now? Of those passions that are still important, how many of them are present in your life?
My primary passions as a child were as follows:
- Storytelling (wanting to become a writer, and eventually create movies and TV shows)
- Comedy (TV shows, movies, standup)
- Science Fiction
- Superheroes & Comic Books
- Sports & Play
My passions as an adult are not that far off from that of my childhood. I’m just as passionate about those things now as I was then, so why shouldn’t they still be a part of my life? There’s really no reason or excuse why not. If that’s what is important to me, I will find the time.
If you want to get a real education on mastery and purpose, check out Robert Greene’s interview on Chase Jarvis Live. You’ll need to watch it at least twice to take it all in.