A Path To Mastery
In The Beginning: My Path To Mastery
Mastery is what has defined my life from a very early age.
As a young adult growing up in Western Pennsylvania, just when I was thinking about college, career and a job to get me started, the steel industry collapsed. Twenty-five miles of J&L steel mills closed and entire towns withered to nothing. The county where I lived had an unemployment rate of 27.1%. This was greater than the peak U.S. unemployment rate during the Great Depression!
In my town they took out the traffic lights and replaced them with stop signs. Traffic was reduced to such a trickle, red lights weren’t needed anymore. The antithesis of growth was everywhere.
An entire industry collapsing was a hard thing for a young adult to understand. It was hard to grasp that my professional life, what I most strived to create at that time was at a dead stop even before it started. My friends took jobs at fast food restaurants and delivering auto parts….. I was still in my teens and bewildered as to how I would initiate some kind of momentum.
Then my father died. I sunk even lower thinking, the leader is missing and it’s a tragedy. I was one of nine children so guidance and support was spread pretty thin….I was literally on my own to create growth where there was none while clouded in a shapeless fog of grief and bewilderment.
I faced reality. I was the only one who could create a positive personal life and a productive professional life. The one responsible party to create function out of dysfunction and professional growth in a climate of decline, was me. I was swimming alone against a strong current of what most believed was impossible and not worth the effort.
Life is the ultimate creative act and embracing the path to mastery ensures you will continually expand your ability to create the life you desire.
I had a burning desire for education. Everybody around me believed strongly there was no escape and my strong desire to be educated was misguided. A well-intentioned neighbor told me Son; even the best education won’t help you in this economy.
I worked on cars, did home repairs and I signed up for a night class at a non-descript community college. I learned that most of my classmates were also struggling and searching for a more hopeful future.
The literature professor (“Dr. K”) was a serious intellectual with high standards. Students grumbled loudly about the arduous assignments of reading, analyzing, and reporting on several difficult classics.
Dr. K’s Lecture
He pounced at the opportunity to lecture the class, crossed his arms, stared out into the class and with a deliberate east to west gait began, “It’s short sighted and naive to attempt to change what is “out there” thinking it will help you and your situation. Difficult assignments, the slow economy, the unemployment rate are life struggles that are like the tide.
They are always going to be there in one-way or another, either high or low, coming or going. There is one sure fire way to change your circumstances and that is to first change yourself. Embrace the difficulties of life and use them to grow and improve.
If you continue to do what you have been doing, you will get the same results and if you expect something different from the same effort, well that’s what Einstein called insanity.
You are here in this class to initiate a change and create a turn around for yourself. This is your opportunity to seize change rather than passively bounce with the tides of life.
Are you here to change or are you going to be college educated but still doing the same things, complaining about the economy, blaming the government, whining about what you could have been?
If you are willing to take a hard look at yourself, face the past and make course corrections—accept the challenge to change yourself….” he said, “If you begin right now to change yourself, I guarantee you will change your future. Your income will change and your life will change.
Don’t resent a difficult assignment, but rather invite and appeal to the opportunity at hand. Don’t wish life was easier, make yourself better! Always remember, if it’s to be, it’s up to me!”
That lecture was the catalyst for me to transform my life.
I earned an associate degree and worked as a policeman but was soon laid off. A result of still deeper decline in the area.
I realized I needed to persevere, be resilient and manage where I was while leading myself up and out. I became my own psychologist and my own philosopher…. Directing my personal development and my intellectual growth all at once…..360° Growth!
I didn’t drink coffee back then but everyday I’d wake up uncertain of my future, excited and anxious. My antennae were hyper set to receive…. looking for lessons and the truth that I was on the right track, that I could create my own destiny. Like wringing a dishrag, I squeezed everything I could out of each encounter, each experience, each day. In the process, a light bulb lit. I didn’t just want a formal education…I was striving for transformation and I learned transformation doesn’t come from a formal education. Transformation comes from self-education!
I began reading everything I could get my hands on. It became clear that even if you don’t see growth on the outside you could create growth from the inside.
Slowly the sun was rising and shedding light on the dark shadowy corners where questions and doubt lived. It became clear that my past was not an indication of my future. I soon realized that life is the ultimate creative act and embracing the path to mastery ensures you will continually expand your ability to create the life you desire.
Mastery–Always Expanding and Reaching
While managing undergrad and grad school, I prepared to be a leader. After arriving as a leader, I worked toward becoming an author and a coach and today I’m still working in the arena of who I am now and who I’m becoming. I never stop expanding and reaching, embracing the journey of mastery.
©Brian Braudis, 2018 All rights reservedTags: A Path to Mastery, Mastery