What is Mastery?

What is MasteryI am often asked What is Mastery?

Observe how Nature is engineered for Mastery. 

Look for it and discover this for yourself. Nothing can beat discovering something for yourself!

At a recent workshop someone asked What is Mastery and why do I need it? A short question and answer session ensued.

Me: Americans already work the most hours of any industrialized country, have you noticed how work is more challenging now?

Well, everything seems more competitive and people seem more on edge, more snarky, easily stressed or susceptible to anxiety.  

Me: Are you are prepared for that work environment, what you are experiencing?

I’m with everybody else, worried about my job and trying to stay healthy. There’s a lot of things that are on shaky ground right now. There’s a lot of unknowns.

Me: Today’s world of high uncertainty points to a need to be prepared for anything because anything can happen. You can’t pick your crisis. Training falls short. It’s incomplete. Today, we need a continuum of “performance on demand”–from novice to master. That’s how we meet the need you described head-on.

Would you agree that continually improving a set of core skills, strengths and approaches to all of life is a better investment than mere training?

Yes, Im glad you’re here!


The classic dictionary definition for Mastery–comprehensive knowledge or skill in a subject or accomplishment. There are a few things wrong with this definition. It is too simplistic and points to mastery of content of some kind. It also implies some sort of arrival or completion.

The real-life, application of Mastery is an ongoing process or a journey not involving completion or and endpoint but more of a continuum or a journey. Early on my definition of Mastery was simply continuous improvement. As I grow and evolve, I realize it is so much more. But in order for Mastery to mean something to you more detail is needed. We must go deeper than the basics.

Mastery is the mysterious process by which what is at first difficult becomes better understood and progressively easier to the point of refinement, enjoyment and pleasure. Mastery is typically (and rightfully) associated with martial arts. But looking closely one sees Mastery demonstrated throughout life. We see Applied Mastery in sports, creative efforts, art, economics, medicine and personal as well as professional life. 

Examples of Applied Mastery

  • Richard Petty started out racing wagons and bicycles.
  • At first, Jerry Seinfeld did stand up for free.
  • LeBron James will be the first to tell you that he has things to work on.
  • Bob Dylan is continually reinventing himself.


The process of Mastery is similar to learning to ride a bike. At first you’re unskilled, scared and shaky. You go slow and fall. It requires Band-Aids. Getting back on the bike after a fall is instinctive to the pursuit. You want to get better. Trying again, adjusting, learning and improving, repeating again and again, you repeat this process countless times. You are moved and inspired to persist by some un-named force that you can only feel and not describe. And here’s the key, you adjust your disciplined effort to each new level of proficiency and learning. You grow and improve sometimes by leaps, sometimes minutely but you always grow and improve. Eventually you become masterful.

The Mysterious Part of Mastery

Mastery is a process, a journey that resists or cannot always be described with words. More often we just witness Mastery. Without words, without thinking, it just comes through you, your essence, the person you’ve become. Mastery arises out of and as a product of your essence, a deeper YOU. 

Mastery comes through the YOU that has been at first chiseled and carved then more deeply honed, polished and refined. The chiseling and carving end but deeper polishing and refining never end. You continually hone your skill and broaden your repertoire. You continually find and express a deeper YOU.

This is the Mastery we see in artists such as Tony Bennett. At age 90 he is better and more relevant than ever. He continues to transcend genre and age. The New York Times has called Bennett The King of Cool. Masters like Bennett continue on their path to Mastery.

Why Do We Need Mastery?

Tony Bennett wrote his own script (like many others). He led himself in his own way not following what society dictates. There was no other way. The accepted and typical way of living is ineffective. The quick fix, crash-diet, lottery-wealth, fast but temporary relief mentality where stress, tension, worry and conflict—fear, doubts and insecurity are acceptable and even deemed normal, simply doesn’t work. What Willam James said in 1899-men the world over possess amounts of resource, which only very exceptional individuals push to their extremes of use. Compared with what we ought to be, we are only half awake–sadly is still the case today and YOU can change that. 

It takes extraordinary focus, strength and effort to swim upstream against mass culture and societal norms and communal pressure to conform and develop and follow your own script toward long-term excellence. 

Mastery is Counterculture

When we adopt the messages offered by mass culture or society we aren’t even aware we have made a choice. We just follow along…they’re all doing it! Then we quickly follow the mythical belief, the fallacy that success leads to happiness, external wealth leads to security and our circumstances create what we experience. But this “following” way of life only creates illusions of accomplishment and a shadow of fulfillment. It is not sustainable and it threatens our health. It is the exact opposite of real achievement and meaningful progress. We are spinning our wheels. In the end fluff is still only fluff.

The Inside Out Nature of Mastery

The way out or the hand up here is your own. Real success, a fulfilled life, happiness and peace—the things that really matter in life are created, internalized and embedded within, most assuredly through the inside–out process of Mastery. Those who pursue Mastery do so from the inside out, from their essence outward. 

They Grasp Life’s Truths:

  • Happiness leads to success.
  • Security in Self leads to wealth.
  • Thoughts create experience.

Those who pursue Mastery deeply root themselves in a core of foundational and fundamental character, traits and qualities representative of a tree deeply rooted in the earth. They operate from a primary core of individual meaning and purpose always moving toward growth, value and contribution.  

What is Mastery?  

Inner Work Shows Up in Outer Work

We pursue Mastery not for self-interest but for self-mastery. The journey becomes enjoyable and progress is measured by getting better, becoming a better human. You know you are making progress when you become more at ease and comfortable with yourself. In your relationships you create resonance. You add to every situation. The better YOU that emerges cannot help but influence a better world. You no longer have to ask What is Mastery.

Mastery is really important for everyone around you. When you embrace the path to Mastery, your ease, peace, composure and equanimity flows into whatever you are doing. You eliminate stress, tension and anxiety and you promote well being everywhere. The essence of YOU begins to show outwardly…     

The continual feeding and refinement of a deeply rooted foundation ensures Mastery. Rather than killing the goose that lays the golden eggs to get the eggs…we feed and nurture the goose—ensuring continuous and even more golden eggs.  The process of Mastery fosters happiness, security, composure and presence. You ensure continual well being and prosperity no matter what the conditions are. 


The result of a pursuit of Mastery is space. You build a reserve where in your presence. Problems, tension and conflict dissolve. YOU influence and alleviate suffering and promote healing. Mastery allows you to live an ordinary life supremely well.

Emerson points to the definition of Mastery.

That which we persist in doing becomes easier, not that the nature of the task has changed, but our ability to do has increased. –Emerson


Mastery is beyond competency, it’s your Nature.  


To begin tapping in to your Nature call Brian– 609-742-9929 or see the Coaching Programs Brian offers. 


©Brian Braudis 2019, All rights reserved

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