8 Timeless Pieces of Advice From Robert Greene.

When I dropped out of Uni, one of the first books I read was Robert Greene’s Mastery.

I recommend everyone read it, but here are 8 lessons that have served me well over the years. Hopefully they do the same for you.

1. Value Learning Over Money

  • Your thoughts will tend to revolve around that which you value most — if it’s money, you will choose a place of apprenticeship that offers the biggest paycheck and you’ll feel the inexorable pressure of trying to prove yourself worthy of the pay — as you progress you’ll become addicted to the fat paycheck and it will dictate what you do, where you go and how you think
  • Instead value learning over money. This will lead to the right choices and will present to you the opportunities where you can learn the most.
  • Even if this means an apprenticeship without pay — it is the height of wisdom to find the perfect mentor and offer your services as an assistant for free.

2. Keep expanding your horizons

  • You must continually work to expand your horizons.
  • Read books and materials that go past what is required — be exposed to new ideas in the world — develop a hunger for knowledge. Once you start doing this your appetite will grow and you’ll find yourself wanting to know more and you won’t be satisfied with a narrow viewpoint — which is the point.
  • Hang with as many different type of people as possible. Whenever you feel yourself settling into a circle force yourself to shake things up and look for new challenges.

3. Revert to a feeling of inferiority

  • We tend to become smug and a sense of superiority arises if we close our minds to other possibilities — new ideas, products, people etc. — The moment you tell yourself that you already know everything, you’ve set this trap in motion and you stop growing.
  • To combat this, approach everything like a child — with a sense f awe and curiosity. This sense of inferiority — that you are above nothing and nobody, creates a sense of hunger to learn.

4. Trust the process

  • When it comes to mastering a skill, time is the magic ingredient. Slowly, the skill becomes hardwired into your conscious and the mind is no longer mired in the details but sees the larger picture.
  • During this time, you will undoubtedly feel frustration but understand that this is a sign of progress — A sign that your mind is processing complexity and requires more practise. Trusting in the process and focussing on doing what you need to do will allow the natural learning process to occur and eventually everything will fall into place.

5. Move toward resistance and pain

  • It’s a human tendency to shrink from anything that seems painful or difficult. This tendency is brought to our practise of a new skill
  • to attain mastery you must adopt ‘resistance practise’ — Simply going in the opposite direction of your natural inclinations [the resistance].
  • Resist the temptation to be nice to yourself. You must become your own worst critic — you see your work as if through the eyes of others. You need to become self-aware enough to realise your own weaknesses.
  • Resist the lure of easing up on your focus. Train yourself to concentrate in practise with double the intensity — create arbitrary deadlines for yourself, or to meet a certain standard* — in this way you develop your own standards for excellence, generally higher than those of others.
  • In the end, your 5 hours of intense focus are equal to that of 10 hours of others.

6. Apprentice yourself in failure

  • Mistakes and failures are a means of learning. They teach you about your own inadequacies.
  • You learn what your audience really wants, the discrepancy between your ideas and how they affect the public.
  • There are two kinds of failure — the first comes from never trying out your ideas because you’re afraid, or because you’re waiting for the perfect time. This failure leads to timidity and will cease you from learning. The second failure comes from a bold, venturesome spirit. If you fail in this way you learn.

7. Combine the ‘how’ and the ‘what’.

  • We live in a world where we’ve seperated ‘art’ and ‘science’ — we have people in one group who only focus on the ‘how’ and others who solely focus on the ‘what’ — to achieve true mastery you need to combine the two.

8. Advance through trial and error

  • You want to learn as much as possible — but only if they are related to your deeper interests.
  • You want to avoid the trap of following one career path — you don’t know where things will lead you, but you’re taking full advantage of the openness of information — — in this way, you begin to learn what things you enjoy and what things you don’t and want to avoid.
  • You’re not wandering because you’re afraid of commitment but rather because you are expanding and exploring your skill base and possibilities. Eventually you’ll hit on something where you will be ready to settle.