Mastery by Robert Greene

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My Notes


You possess a kind of inner force that seeks to guide you toward your Life’s Task – what you are meant to accomplish in this time that you have to live. In childhood this force was clear to you. It directed you toward activities and subjects that fit your natural inclinations, that sparked a curiosity that was deep and primal. In the intervening years, the force tends to face in and out as you listen more to parents and peers, to the daily anxieties that wear at you. This can be a source of your unhappiness – your lack of connection to who you are and what makes you unique. The first move toward master is always inward – learning who you really are and connecting with that innate force. Knowing it with clarity, you will find your way to the proper career path and everything else will fall into place. It is never too late to start this process.

  1. Return to your origins – The primal inclination strategy

In order to master a field, you must love the subject and feel a profound connection to it.

Your interest must transcend the field and border on religious.

These childhood attractions are hard to put into words and are more like sensations-that of deep wonder, sensual pleasure, power and heightened awareness.

The importance is recognizing these preverbal inclinations is that they are clear indications of an attraction that is not infected by the desires of other people.

As you become more sophisticated, you often lose touch with these signals from your primal core.

Your power and future can depend on reconnecting with this core and returning to your origins.

You must dig for signs of inclinations in your earliest years.

Looks for its traces in visceral reactions to something simple; a desire to repeat an activity that you never tired of; a subject that stimulated an unusual degree of curiosity; feelings of power attached to particular actions.



Life is short, and your time for learning and creativity is limited. Without any guidance, you can waste valuable years trying to gain knowledge and practice from various sources. Instead, you must follow the example set by Masters throughout the age and fin the proper mentor. The mentor-protege relationship is the most efficient form of learning. The right mentors know where to focus your attention and how to challenge you. Their knowledge and experience become yours. They provide immediate and realistic feedback on your work, so you can improve more rapidly. Through an intense person-to-person interaction, you absorb a way of thinking that contains great power and can be adapted to your individual spirit. Choose the mentor who best fits your needs and connects to your Life’s Task. Once you have internalized their knowledge, you must move on and never remain in their shadow. Your goal is always to surpass your mentors in mastery and brilliance.