Heart Intelligence 7


Professional athletes would know a great deal about mastery. They basically spend most of their time mastering the skills and moves to be no.1 in their area of sports. Tiger Woods, the American golfer who won 14 majors, when at his peak, would start his workout, practice and do everything that is connected to his game from 6.30am and end at about 6.00pm. Roger Federer, 17 grand slam winner in tennis, would spend 4 – 5 hours a day on just training on the court, which does not include the time spent in the gym to strengthen his physique and stamina.  I am sure we have all heard of the endurance and energy used by anyone who pursues a certain field with a passion. If they are not doing something, they are at least thinking about it. 

It’s the same thing with entrepreneurs. When they are pursuing a certain business target, time becomes blurred, their focus is heightened and anytime is a good time to close the deal. All this is done to acquire the know-how and do whatever it takes to win and find success in that particular field. Most times it is no more the money that drives them, but it is the sheer satisfaction of achieving the goal that has been set out and then on to the next goal. Hence mastery of anything requires, an amazing amount of time, incredible effort, abundance of focus and discipline and a ton of passion. 

In a lot of my training programs, I would ask my participants to close their eyes and imagine a red cow. After about a minute or so, I would ask for their feedback about what they saw on the stage of their minds. I will get a variety of answers. Anything from nothing to a red cow in a farm, a cow in a tutu, the red bull can, an animated cow, a regular brown cow, a cow image on a milk box and many other interesting ones. When I asked the attendees for what they have learnt from this, most often I get the feedback that we are all different and hence the different images formed in the mind, which is of course an acceptable feedback. 

But the real lesson here is that the mind seems to have its own ‘mind’ and it seems that we absolutely have no control or have little control over it.

They were given very clear instruction and somewhat a simple one, as to what they should be looking at. Upon registering the instruction, it was then passed on to their minds to produce that image and the mind would have nothing of it. You could almost hear the mind say “I will show you a red cow grazing on a green grass” and “I will show you a cow that is first brown and then I will paint it red for you”. The mind has its own agenda for you and it will take you and show everything, but just a red cow. This simple exercise is to prove that there is a gap or a separation between the ‘YOU’, who is beyond personality and the ‘you’ which is all about the personality. So it seems like as much as we would love to have mastery over ourselves, we would have to really get to know what we are about.

There is a school of thought that says, personal mastery would mean that we need to control our thoughts and emotion and produce only those which is good for us on the whole. This however produces a very difficult scenario. You see, one cannot alter the function of something that it is specifically designed for and expect it to have quite another function which was not meant for it in the first place. You cannot take a lawn-mover and expect to sit on it and drive it around your neighbourhood. It would be a ridiculous sight and most of all you will not go very far in it. You cannot teach a dog to meow and as much as you cannot teach a cat to bark. So in the same way, our minds are designed to think and produce thoughts from the millions of memories and references that is stored away as incidences and stories that has happened in our lives with the added emotions that came with it when it happened. These thoughts do not just come in well-arranged sequential form of any kind. It’s chaotic. They come overlapped and with one layer of thoughts over another layer of thoughts. They cross each other’s paths without a care and the ‘thought traffic’ gets even more insane when you are trying to control or stop it.

So personal mastery in the end becomes a case of trying to handle a class filled with hyper-active children anywhere from three to fifteen years old yearning and fighting for your attention, twenty four hours a day and the funny thing is you never asked to have this class in the first place. They were all brought in, without your permission, on the assumption that you will be able to handle them. Among these ‘children’ some have very strong influence over you. You tend to listen to them. They seem to have the ability to master your decisions and behaviour. As time goes by, they grow in stature and influence. They become your habits and your personality. They literally become ‘you’.

Personal mastery is really about knowing that you are the master and these ‘children’ are there to be taught and trained so that they can one day serve a greater good. For that to even remotely happen, you, the real master, need to understand a few fundamental things about your characteristics and traits. Without this understanding, you will fall prey to the influence of these ‘children’. 

Peter M. Senge, the author of book titled : THE 5th DISCIPLINE, wrote :

‘People with a high level of personal mastery are able to consistently realize the results that matter most deeply to them.' 

It is interesting to note that if you have a clear outcome that really matters to you, then that’s going to help towards personal mastery. A greater incentive to knowing the self is to know that you have been born for no other reason than that. When personal mastery is attained, everything will fall in place. When you understand who you are, your purpose becomes clear. When your purpose is clear, then your priorities are clear. When your priorities are clear, your energy is channeled towards the right things. The things you are supposed to be doing to be fulfilled in a real way will come to surface. You will inadvertently become the influencer of your environment rather than be influenced. These are among many of the fruits of personal mastery.

By Kumar Nagalingam

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