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Book Freak #33: How to Gain Mastery Over Anything

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How to gain mastery over anything

Book Freak is a weekly newsletter with cognitive tools you can use to improve the quality of your life.

The following pieces of advice are from Robert Greene’s 2012 book, Mastery.

Fail by doing instead of not doing
“There are two kinds of failure. The first comes from never trying out your ideas because you are afraid, or because you are waiting for the perfect time. This kind of failure you can never learn from, and such timidity will destroy you. The second kind comes from a bold and venturesome spirit. If you fail in this way, the hit that you take to your reputation is greatly outweighed by what you learn. Repeated failure will toughen your spirit and show you with absolute clarity how things must be done.”

Become a master of the small reality you create
“We are all in search of feeling more connected to reality—to other people, the times we live in, the natural world, our character, and our own uniqueness. Our culture increasingly tends to separate us from these realities in various ways. We indulge in drugs or alcohol, or engage in dangerous sports or risky behavior, just to wake ourselves up from the sleep of our daily existence and feel a heightened sense of connection to reality. In the end, however, the most satisfying and powerful way to feel this connection is through creative activity. Engaged in the creative process we feel more alive than ever, because we are making something and not merely consuming, masters of the small reality we create. In doing this work, we are in fact creating ourselves.”

Adopt an attitude of positivity and earnestness
“The passive ironic attitude is not cool or romantic, but pathetic and destructive.”

Don’t jump to conclusions. Crawl slowly to them
“With our limited senses and consciousness, we only glimpse a small portion of reality. Furthermore, everything in the universe is in a state of constant flux. Simple words and thoughts cannot capture this flux or complexity. The only solution for an enlightened person is to let the mind absorb itself in what it experiences, without having to form a judgment on what it all means. The mind must be able to feel doubt and uncertainty for as long as possible. As it remains in this state and probes deeply into the mysteries of the universe, ideas will come that are more dimensional and real than if we had jumped to conclusions and formed judgments early on.”

Book Freak is one of four newsletters from Cool Tools Lab (our other three are the Cool Tools Newsletter, Recomendo, and What’s in my bag?).

12/31/19