The Psychology and Principles of Mastery

The Psychology and Principles of Mastery

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In this video we examine the the psychology of mastery, and look at deliberate practice and the role in plays in the attainment of expert performance.

Recommended Readings:
There are a lot of books on mastery. To steer clear of the “fluff”, I recommend these books:
Peak – Anders Ericsson – (affiliate link)
Deep Work – Cal Newport – (affiliate link)
Mastery – Robert Greene – (affiliate link)
Talent is Overrated – Geoff Colvin – (affiliate link)


November 2, 2016 / 45 Comments / by / in
  • who r u guys?u r amazing
    i luv u

  • Great video! It reminds me of Carol Dweck's Growth Mindset.

  • Thank you

  • I fell in love with this Channel after my philosophy class. Please keep up the good work.

  • Thanks a lot dude!

  • Wonderful

  • God man youre videos are incredible! I have watched probably about 10 now, and each time I have been shocked by how well-done, informative, entertaining, and important the video was. You are doing amazing work sir, please keep it up for those of us that are enjoying these videoa so thoroughly. I feel very grateful and fortunate to have access to what you're putting out.
    Thank you,Sean (ignore my username)

  • You're videos are great

  • I cant figure out which craft to choose. I could begin with something and change later… but even a provisionary choice is hard. lol

  • great content but I was annoyed by the monotony.. maybe you can try a different orator or add music in the background.. for some reason it was a bit distracting.. I'll listen to other of your videos at a later time to confirm this.

  • this is a good channel

  • great summary..thank you. I'm thinking g deliberate practice could be applied to the whole of life. though shools, media,religons and society seem geared up to encourage people into comfort zones as a life goal!..a kind of living death really!..

  • active satisfaction is irrational, because you can have passive satisfaction all year long without effort, but you can only get active satisfaction if you go through a hard time first. The endresult is that those with lots of active satisfaction have a hard life half of the time, which makes them unhappy in the end, while someone who is doing passive satisfaction is just happy for a whole year

  • Guys! Business student here.

    Any recommendation for a skill its Worth putting hundreds of hours in?

  • The Acadamy of Ideas videos on Nietzsche seem excellent, but the book "Peak" by Ericson mentioned in the video is "junk" … the book basically just repeats the idea that one must practice like crazy and have a good coach/teacher to give one feedback. So I don't know why the author of the video mentions the poor book.

  • I've recently stumbled upon this channel, and now watching one video from Academy of Ideas has become that part of my day that I really look forward too! Thanks for so brilliantly articulating these wonderful schools of thought and the study that so many minds that came before us have done about how live a life which is fulfilling and meaningful – the one thing that most of us constantly try to define for ourselves in our day-to-day life.

    Love all the videos I have seen so far, it's brilliantly life affirming!
    Do keep making more of these phenomenal lessons 🙂

  • The aristotelian concept of Potentiality and actuality is very similiar to this.

  • I just discovered your channel and its absolutely amazing. Already watched like 12 videos. Will make sure I will watch them all.

  • So dark souls makes masters

  • i just wanna know how to apply this "deliberate practice"

  • You never disappoint! Great video. By the way, have you studied under Jordan Peterson? You're obviously influenced by him, but in this video I noticed what seemed like a Canadian accent, which makes me wonder

  • Great thanks for your contributions. 😃

  • 10,000 hours of correct fundamental practice. Discipline will only get you so far, enjoying what you want to master is all that is necessary. Everytime I get closer to mastering a masterpiece of music the more grateful I become and the more insight I gain for the next. Soon it is like breathing and if I don't do it I feel I'm suffocating. Understand, when I'm NOT playing is when I potentially can become frustrated, NOT while playing. When I play I'm breathing. 4 hours a day is not enough for me its better than addictions or some kind of vice. Appreciation and gratitude gets you there, to that authentic enjoyment when time flies by and you are immersed in your chosen art or field.

  • Can you imagine the pathetic lives being led by the people who gave this video a thumbs down?

  • This channel is amazing. Really. Excellent work.

  • This is awesome. It's like pickup, the passive way would be fapping and watching porn. But the active way would be approaching girls and take action to get sex

  • I am now Homo Exercens, wow.

  • Very well!

  • This is bullshit! public schools ought to inculcate in students basic knowledge. Creativity is dependent on that knowledge and teachers ought to be selected on the basis of being masters of their own subject, hence they ought to be authorities and thus treated as such.

  • Not a single word out of place in deacribing how to master what ever that is desired.
    Obstacles and Challenges And discomfort are the cornerstones of improvement.
    And it is recommended that if you really want ongoing improvements throughout out life from young age to like mid 30 rd that you learn how to overcome Obstacles seek necessary challenges And become very close friend with discomfort…
    Once you have those unshakeable foundations in place feel free to add whatever layer that takes your fancy and chances are high that more likely then not you will end up a master In any field of your choosing.
    Despite what is being sold now days nothing worth while comes easy.

  • so hooked. cant stop listening

  • Loved this

  • Thank you

  • There's a serious conceptual error with this premise though. The reason why there has always been a deep-seated belief that talent is innate,is because IT ACTUALLY IS. The misconception is believing that innate talent or "ability" to perform certain tasks is an automatic immutable trait, as if the genius musician, painter, athlete, etc. is already born with full knowledge of how to perform these tasks.
    This is actually a very broad and complex issue.
    The idea of "success" and of "being above average" can be very misleading, since "success" is simply achieving some pre-defined target, and "being above average" is what happens to anyone who focus on some specific task, since the average of people are pretty much unskilled and untrained in most activities. So, a person who knows how to play the piano is already "above average", since the majority of humans do not play the piano. A person who can run a marathon is already above average, since the majority of people never trained to be a long distance runner. Having tight abs and a fit body already puts someone above average, since most people are weak and not very fond of exercising.
    So, the main misconception is that "focusing on developing a skill" is any sort of evidence that talent is overrated , simply because many untalented people may be able to perform some tasks which is wrongfully believed that can only be performed by naturally gifted individuals.
    Now, there are many reasons why UNTALENTED people may "rise to the top" in many fields, particularly in the last 200 years (and mainly in the last 50 years or so). The main reasons are:
    – Capitalism
    – Technology
    – Drugs
    – Favorable social positions
    – Access to special knowledge.

    – Capitalism makes it possible for people to FAKE IT in many different ways, rising to the top NOT because of their own natural talent (except if we consider as "talent" abilities such as lying, stealing, coercion, etc.). Many "successful" people either paid others to help them, paid others to actually do the works, or at least were able to finance their personal development, placing them in favorable positions compared to competitors who had to actually do work in order to survive. One could be very naturally talented, but simply have to be working in the fields, or farm, or building houses, etc in order to have what's necessary to make a living in the short term. Whilst a rich person could pay many other people to perform mundane work, and focus on some artistic endeavor, for example.

    – Technology may put someone ahead of other, if they have access to the new technology before others (which is also something related to favorable social positions). And technology can also create a false sense of ability and skill, as it is the device who is performing the part of the work which would require skill and talent. One reason why there has been this massive wave of "creative" and "talented" people in the last decades is simply because every idiot can use smartphones and tablets, and engage in activities that in the past would require high levels of knowledge. Anyone can "make music" and "make videos", because the devices and softwares are already packed with all resources that are responsible for the higher quality of the end results. This is also why there are so many "talented cooks" nowadays, when so many ingredients are already selected and processed (sauces, seasonings, spices, other industrialized ingredients) as well as pre-cut, pre-treated (dairy, meats), and the recipes are thoroughly detailed in the internet, and ovens have predefined temperatures, etc. Compare this to an actual talented cook from the early 20th century back, who had to prepare everything from scratch, do the hardwork of dissecting the animals, preparing the meat, collecting the spices, mixing them in proper amounts, overseeing the cooking, etc. Technology allowed for all kinds of unskilled and untalented people to be able to produce things in decent levels, which they would never accomplish in other scenarios.

    – Drugs alter the natural traits of people. Many "top athletes" would not even be professional athletes if not for drugs. Many weak people become strong due to heavy use of anabolic steroids. In the 70's and 80's the vast majority of people believed that Arnold Schwarzenegger and other bodybuilders were genetically superior individuals. Many Olympic athletes from the 70's and 80's were believed to be a superior breed of humans. Take the east German female swimmers from 1976 and the Chinese team from 1994, as more evident examples. Or all football and wrestling athletes in the US in the 70's 80's, 90's… Back in those days, anyone who had knowledge about these performance enhancing drugs, as well as access to them, would be "at the top row" (as long as there was also a lot of hardwork and "mastering" of skills, but still, drugs could fill the gap of the missing natural talent).

    – Favorable social position is basically having access to some or all of these other factors. A person may be friends or family tied to rich or knowledgeable people. Many times a good coach is the difference between a losing team/athlete and a gold medalist. Having also someone who likes you for some reason, to finance your artistic aspirations, would place many untalented people in successful positions. Many actors, movie producers, singers, musicians, politicians, business people, who are regarded as "successful" were born in families of already relevant people in these industries, and benefited from having lots of money, access to special knowledge, technology, etc.

    – Access to special knowledge would be any situation where a person can be coached by people who know better tactics, processes, strategies, in order to achieve certain goals. That what has always given an edge to people who could go to elite schools, elite universities, or have some personal connection to MASTERS of some craft, who do possess internalized knowledge of what processes are more effective in reaching specific goals. Every human task in our current times have gone through centuries, millennia, of development. They are not basic human activities, they are activities that have come about through several technique refinements throughout the ages, with a lot of trial and error from MANY individuals. So this condensed knowledge is imbedded in the required processes (techniques) to reach superior quality work in any field. These special knowledge are the processes inculcated into people though education and training. Those who possess better knowledge, will then be able to foment new individuals with these superior techniques/processes. And that is basically why so many people misinterpret and confuse the idea of natural talent and education. Even the most naturally prone individual to excel in any task, will not accomplish anything if locked in a prison cell looking at nothing. And that is why there are many potentially successful individuals trapped in mediocre to deplorable conditions because their natural proclivities were not harnessed and cultivated into a skilled craft, and, many times, were indeed suppressed and hindered.

    But all in all, what happens is that at the very higher levels, only those with sufficient natural talent would be able to stand and remain. That is, in activities where natural talent still do play a part, such as athletes, dancers, singers, or any type of work that actually requires a human-personal participation in a differentiable way. Simply being rich or popular (which is what "success" means to most people) does not require any kind of talent really.

  • Amen! Thank you!

  • physical can only take you so far , heart and mind take one to master , true in self , as well as seen by others , action , louder than words .

  • But how do you find this craft?

  • This reminds me of Sartre: Man is nothing else but that which he makes of himself.

  • No disrespect.. But all this is bullshit! All crap crap and crap of words and descriptions and concepts and studies and it's all linear thinking and understanding! Whoever watches me at work, or I should say "at play" will know that all this is horseshit. I am a master yet I am a beginner. I have no beginning and I know no such thing as an end. I am nothing yet I am everything. As I play, time does not exist, so I keep exploring and exploring and exploring until nature puts me to sleep. I tapped into the god of my craft, and figured that everything is connected to what I do. I take whatever I want, whenever I need it. The whole thing is mine. Mastery my ass!

  • This video makes a error in regards to talent or natural ability. It only talks of talent in terms of the goal of mastery in a given field. Its real importance is that if you exhibit natural talent ( especially at an early age) you will often be given the kinds of assistance ( recognition, training, money, job, adulation) that will facilitate mastery very quickly. If you do not show talent you will often be ignored, discouraged and ridiculed in the pursuit of your goal. In other words you will do it the hard way and as Frost the poet said, that will make all the difference.

  • Great video!

  • So, hard work trumps talent.

  • But what if an individual has already passed, say 35 yrs of his life, in an environment where he has been forced to become aloof from his inate abilities. And even a lot of yrs have passed, he decides that he is independent and can finally can walk on the active path towards turning his dormant but prominent innate ability into mastery, but is in doubt because of the time passed. What do you suggest he should do?

  • This channel is too good for us mere mortals

  • you are taking to me deep inside better than my best friends

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