07/13/2013 01:00 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The Journey to Mastery

Click here to read an original op-ed from the TED speaker who inspired this post and watch the TEDTalk below.

I'm reminded of a quote by Annie Dillard:

"How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing."

This line has always resonated with me -- and it should strike a chord with you too. Each hour is an opportunity to follow any number of paths and take your brain to different levels of being.

After watching BLACK's "My Journey to YO-YO Mastery" I think of the importance of dedication, awareness, and of the passage of time. It's easy to let the hours slip into days, into weeks, into months... until eventually, years have passed and you realize you've been in front of Facebook for literally weeks or even months of your life. How do we find mental clarity? How do we structure our lives in such a way that enables us to become or create something great -- something profound or Masterful? It starts with dedication.

But where does dedication come from?

Most people scoff at the mere topic of passion. 'Follow your passion' is repeated ad nauseum to kids and entrepreneurs alike to help them escape the traps of corporate America. And there's good reason; when one is passionate about their work or a project, it becomes a source of inspiration, creativity, sleepless nights and beautiful breakthrough.

As the Indian Hindu monk, Swami Vivekananda, wrote:

"Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life -- think of it, dream of it, live one idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success."

Mastery comes, as it did for BLACK, through immense passion and dedication -- and in many cases, through obsession. But that's what it takes! Ask any skilled entrepreneur, carpenter, doctor, soldier, lawyer, engineer or baker about their lifestyle. They'll each speak of little sleep, high stress, little pay and a nonexistent social life. Sound fun?

There is a payoff, however -- but it's dense, and veiled in grit, blood, sweat and tears. It's the knowledge of Mastery. It's becoming a thought leader on cable news. It's being the best lineworker in the plant. It's becoming the chief surgeon, or a starred General. It's the teacher of the year. It's winning the World Yo-Yo competition. These are our Masters. These people are definitions of what it takes to fully realize passion, achieve mastery and create an identity that imparts the significance of a human life.

These brave and dedicated individuals recognize the importance of a single day -- of the next hour, and the opportunities that await. They wake before the sun rises, and are the last to leave the office when the sun is long since set.

So you really want to know about mastery? About passion? About dedication? Then turn your brain on hyper drive and put on the horse blinders. Do what you know must be done. Put in the time. Neglect your family (just kidding... kind of). Push away unnecessary, negative thoughts. Skip the happy hours. Weekends are now just another day with too few hours to get enough done. Go out into the world with a purpose in your heart, and a fire in your soul. Just do it. But do it now.

*WARNING: Attempting Mastery may be harmful to your health.

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