I’ve come to the conclusion that mastery is greater than excellence. Mastery meaning “comprehensive knowledge or skill in a subject or accomplishment” or “control or superiority over something” is far better than “the quality of being outstanding or extremely good”. It’s important to distinguish the two. Many people are simply good (or extremely good) at things all their lives. The fundamental difference is they have yet to acquire deep knowledge and an extensive understanding of the subject in which they are good at.
The greatest mentors, leaders, teachers are masters. They aren’t merely very good at what they do. They have the deepest understanding of their subject or field. These people aren’t good at many things but the few things are are good at they are masters of. When you allow yourself to focus at micro levels for extended periods of time great things happen.
When you couple focusing on a micro level with asking brilliant questions, that’s when the deepening of knowledge occurs. It requires you to put your ego aside and accept that you don’t know everything. There is no point at which you can stop and say you know everything. It’s about accepting the fact that you will be wrong more than you are right. Submission to the idea that you don’t know all the answers. You keep peeling away at the onion until you go deeper and deeper.
This is how mastery is cultivated. Thought process that transcends greatness is what makes mastery not only so much better but also so much more exciting than excellence.