There is power in MASTERY! And how many people do you know who are really committed to mastery today? Most people dabble in a million things, they master nothing, and they wonder why they’re unfulfilled. Because they’re running for the sugar, the next thing that feels good, instead of getting past what doesn’t feel good and getting to where you OWN something.
Tony Robbins (#1 Life and Business Strategist)
Too many people live lives lacking in balance.
They may have great wealth but lousy relationships with their family. Or they may be incredibly fit and healthy but struggle with debt. Or they may have a career filled with achievements but feel heartbroken and lonely.
However, an extraordinary life is balanced on all levels.
You see, you probably know by now that if your aim is to be happy and fulfilled, then piling up huge amounts of money and material possessions isn't going to do it.
Unfortunately, though, most people still believe that this is the key to success and happiness in life and, as a result, their beliefs drive their actions and their actions determine their results.
I get it. I've felt the same way for a long time. But through a series of critical experiences in my life, I discovered that... yes, money is important, but it is not the only area that requires our focus.
As Jim Carrey said, "I wish everyone could get rich and famous and have everything they ever dreamed of, so they would know that's not the answer."
Thus, if you really want to live a life filled with joy and fulfillment, you will have to master a few other fundamental areas as well.
And that's what this article is all about.
It will challenge you to think of your life and where you want to grow in a holistic way. Why? Because thinking holistically will help you make sure you don’t end up winning in one area but losing in another.
I'll share with you 8 fundamental areas you need to master to finally unlock the gates to an extraordinary life, sounds good?
Alright, then let's dive in!
Side note: Credit for the following areas of mastery goes to Tony Robbins. In his "Pyramid of Mastery" illustrated below are listed 7 areas. However, in this guide, I have added "Personal Growth" as the 8th fundamental pillar of mastery. Hope you'll enjoy it!
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1. Health & Fitness
You and I both know that all the joy is taken out of life when you are unhealthy.
When you are constantly exhausted and fatigued; when you can’t even feel like getting out of bed in the morning; when you can’t find the energy needed to do the things that matter most.
And worst of all... you are not the only one affected by it. The way you feel affects everyone else around you. That's not a good place to be in and you know that.
We also know that our body is very much like the house we live in. The strength of the house depends on the strength of the foundation it is built on.
The same is true for your body. If you don‘t build a strong foundation, you'll soon find yourself with the structure fallen out of place.
Unfortunately, most people think that "Once I'll achieve X, Y, Z goal, I'll get back in shape." But it doesn’t work that way. You don't want to be the richest man in the graveyard, because what use is your money now if you've lost your health along the way, right?
Look, you already know that maintaining physical fitness will help raise your energy levels, release the toxins in your body and boost your metabolism. It can also facilitate the release of those neurotransmitters, called endorphins (a.k.a. “happy hormones”).
The truth of the matter is that your body is a machine and a complex mechanism. Nevertheless, people make it more complicated than it needs to be.
Remember: complexity is the enemy of execution. The more complex you make it, the less likely you are to execute.
So let me make it simple for you. At its core, the physical aspect of your life consists of 3 fundamental activities:
This includes everything that you already know: having a balanced diet, hydrating yourself regularly, avoiding alcohol, not eating junk food, eliminating or reducing processed fats, including nuts, fruits and vegetables into your daily diet etc.
Engage in physical exercise on a regular basis, whether it be walking, doing body-weight exercises, swimming, cycling, running, weight lifting, you name it. Try making it a priority to move at least 30-60 minutes a day, no matter your age.
Missing only a few hours of sleep on a consistent basis can have some terrible consequences on your mental and physical performance. And yet, sleep continues to be the first thing people sacrifice.
There's enough research to prove that for a good night's sleep, we need between 7 to 9 hours. Getting the right amount of hours of sleep a night can make a profound difference on your brain and your heart. The key here is consistency.
Also, consider taking a brief nap (15-20 minutes) in the middle of the day if possible. This will make sure that you stay focused, creative and energized for the rest of the day.
Bonus: Deep Breathing
For the deluxe health package, you can include deep breathing as the fourth element.
No need for fancy positions, legs crossed, or lighted candles. You can do that too, of course, but all I ask you to do is to take ten deep breaths first thing in the morning and ten deep breaths before going to bed. That’s it.
You can learn other techniques afterwards, but start by implementing this simple practice every single day.
Bottom line: I'm sure you already know about the benefits of living a healthy life. But we also know that knowledge by itself doesn't bring about change.
The real question is: Are you doing it all?
As Edward Stanley once noted, “Those who don't make time for exercise will eventually have to make time for illness.”
So please don't ignore your health. Take care of your body and be aware of the consequences of doing otherwise.
2. Emotional Mastery
I think it‘s safe to say that your emotions will define the quality of your life.
Therefore, if you want to experience life to the fullest, know that this is an absolute essential pillar that requires mastery.
As someone once said, “...if your primary emotions are pissed off and frustrated, your life will be pissed off and frustrated.” No matter the amount of money you'll have in your bank account, your life will be miserable.
I'm sure you know about people who have everything you'd ever imagined: multi-million dollar homes, private jets, multiple cars in their garage, fame, power, you name it. And yet, they're some of the most miserable people on the planet.
On the flip side, you probably know about people who are considered mediocre by society‘s standards, but who are the most joyous and enthusiastic people to be around.
Why is that? Well, it's because of the way they manage their emotions.
One of the most profound studies on this subject was done by the psychologist Daniel Goleman, who popularized the term "Emotional Intelligence." In his book with the same name, he offers 5 key areas that determine your emotional quotient (EQ).
To me, this is the iron quality of a successful life. Self-aware people master their emotions instead of letting emotions master them.
They follow Socrates' mantra: Know thyself. They're willing to take an objective look at themselves by exploring their strengths and weaknesses and making the necessary changes along the way.
This refers to the ability to control emotions and impulses.
Do you get angry very easy? And even worse, do you stay angry for a long period of time? Are you a jealous person? Do you find yourself unable to let go of past resentments and suffering?
Well, most of us are like that. But self-regulating people don't allow their emotions take over their decisions. They learn to control their emotions and they think before they act.
Self-motivation especially. People with high emotional intelligence know how to motivate themselves.
They don't rely on external sources of motivation because their primary drive comes from within. They're disciplined, highly productive people, who understand the value of long-term thinking over immediate gratification.
Empathy is the ability to put yourself in someone else's' shoes. It's your ability to understand the wants, needs, and perspectives of others.
Empathetic people are those who can land an ear when you most need it. These are the people who have brilliant listening skills. They seek first to understand, then to be understood.
They realize that the specific situation matters more than the person itself. They understand that what happened to others could've easily happened to them.
As a result, they avoid criticizing and judging others too quickly, which helps them build genuine and beautiful relationships with those around them.
E. Social Skills
Also referred to as people skills, social skills is another critical component of high Emotional Intelligence.
People with great social skills are usually easy to talk to. They're good team players and you'll usually see them in leadership positions.
People with good social skills understand the value of a genuine smile, the importance of a good posture, and they typically have great persuasive skills. They shine at building and managing relationships and they're outstanding communicators.
With that being said, strongly linked to the area of Emotional Mastery is the next building block for crafting an extraordinary life...
3. Love & Relationships
On the other side of the spectrum, we should nurture our emotional well-being in the relationships we build and create a long-lasting, passionate connection with another person.
We know that love and connection are among some of our most important needs.
Because we are social creatures by nature. We are wired to connect with other human beings.
That's why the absence of good relationships in our life can make us feel lonely, depressed and anxious which, as a result, leads to low levels of self-esteem and self-confidence.
That's not good!
To make sure that we don't fall into this trap, as simple as it may sound, we've got to surround ourselves with people we love. With people who challenge us and hold us to higher standards. With people who help us become the best person we are capable of becoming.
Surround yourself with friends who will be there for you not only when everything's going great, but more importantly, when everything is falling to pieces.
Nurture the relationships with your family and especially with your parents. Don't take them for granted!
Besides that, we should also nurture our intimate relationships. These types of relationships can bring us the most pleasure and satisfaction. But they can also be the biggest source of pain and suffering.
Given the unbelievable divorce rate manifested all around the world, we should really consider mastering this critical area of our lives, don't you agree?
I think a great solution to this issue was offered in the following story:
I believe this little story says it all and it applies equally to men and women.
On your path to mastering this essential pillar of the foundation, a good starting point would be the development of those five elements of Emotional Intelligence described earlier.
A few other guidelines may include:
a) Avoid gossiping. Stop talking with other people about stuff that‘s going on in your family or about your partner. Follow the 3 C's rule: Never complain, criticize, or condemn your partner. Unless you are perfect, of course. 😉
b) Listen to your partner more and longer.
c) Express gratitude to your partner. Find one thing that you appreciate about your partner every day!
4. Career & Business
Learn to work harder on yourself than you do on your job.
That was the advice my mentor Jim Rohn gave me and this is the advice I'd like to pass on to you.
He also said that you get paid for bringing VALUE to the marketplace. You don't get paid for the TIME you spend on the job. You get paid primarily for the VALUE you bring to the marketplace.
That means that you don't need to change your boss, your colleagues, your country, or the economy. All you have to do is to change yourself! Because if you will change, everything will change for you.
If you will change, everything will change for you.
How to Increase the value you're bringing to the marketplace?
Well, we know for a reason that everyone of us serves a portion of humanity.
Therefore, if you want to increase your income, all you have to do is to find ways and means of increasing your service, thus increasing the value you bring to the marketplace.
Remember: your rewards in life will always match your service.
Another way of putting it is that if you want to have more, you've got to BECOME more. You do that by learning new skills and strategies in your primary field of interest.
If you want to have more, you've got to become more.
Develop your expertise. Discover ways to become more productive at what you do. Learn how to leverage your strengths and how you can have a bigger impact on other people's lives.
Build your character. Work on your attitude. Surround yourself with people who are playing the game at a higher level than you do. Work constantly on improving yourself.
If you'll do so, you'll never have to worry about money again. EVER!
This is such a simple concept, but it's such a critical one to understand. And it's equally true whether you're an employee, or an employer.
5. Money & Finances
They say that money is like good health, in that we are concerned about it to the extent that we don’t have it.
Despite that, people still believe that money is the root of all evil and that it is unimportant. Strangely enough, these are the same people who are almost always broke.
Let's make this clear: Money is NOT bad, and it IS vitally important.
The food you put on the table, the clothes you wear, the bills you pay, the medical care and the education you can afford are all things that require money.
YES! Money, by itself, won't bring you happiness! But the things and the experiences it will help provide CAN bring you happiness. And it surely brings more happiness than poverty does, wouldn't you agree?
You see, money is just a tool and you’re either its master or its slave. You've got to decide.
For example, a knife can be used to spread some jelly on your bread, or it can be used to cut someone's throat. A terrible analogy, I know, but it proves my point.
It's the same thing with money. You can either use it for good or for bad.
That's why I personally believe that money will only make you more of what you already are.
Another misconception many people have is that money solves problems. Well, that's not true either.
If you don’t have the knowledge to manage a thousand dollars, you’d better stop praying for a million dollars and start learning what to do with a thousand. The best thing you can do is to start early, when the amounts are small.
Remember that it’s your thinking and your financial education that solves problems.
Money without financial intelligence is money soon gone.
That’s why I always emphasize this point: Don’t focus on what you have or what you get. Focus on WHO you are becoming along the way.
Don’t let money alone define you.
And if you'll ever decide to make an investment, just remember that investing in yourself will be the most profitable investment you’ll ever make.
6. Productivity & Performance
Time is, by far, one of life's most valuable possessions. However, despite popular belief, you can't really manage time.
Think about it for a minute: How can you manage something which CANNOT be controlled?
As far as I’m concerned, everyone of us is given only 24 hours during the day. No more and no less. You can't stop time, you can't get more of it, and you can never get it back.
But what you CAN do, is you can manage YOURSELF in relation to time... In other words, when you say that, “I need to manage my time better!” what you should really say is, “I should manage MYSELF better!”
And how you manage yourself, eventually reflects on your personal productivity – at home and at work.
But there's a common MYTH that I don't want you to fall into. Let me explain…
We've grown in a system that praises "busyness." In fact, we believe that life is not valuable if it's not loaded with a hectic schedule. We’re always trying to do more, and more, and more, and yet, we find ourselves always running like hamsters on a wheel.
That's because we mistake movement for achievement; a lot of activity with productivity. What we fail to realize is that productivity is NOT about being busy all day.
It's not about trying to cram more tasks into your daily schedule.
Productivity and high performance is about getting the most important things done and making more time for the things and people that matter most. (Read that again.)
For you, that may mean:
- Having the time to hang out with your friends...
- Spending quality time with your family...
- Taking your kids on that camping trip...
- Working on that side-business you’ve started, or
- Going on that beach vacation you’ve always wanted.
Whatever it is for you, I'm here to tell you that you can absolutely attain that. However, in my world, there's just one critical distinction...
You see, there's no point in learning how to get more done in less time just for the sake of getting more done in less time, don't you agree?
For most people, achievement is NOT the problem. ALIGNMENT is. What does that mean?
It means that it's all about getting purposeful work done; work that matters to you; work that is aligned with who you are, with what you value most, and with what you want most in life.
So as you probably understand by now, learning how to become more productive, energized and focused is perhaps the single, most important skill that you can learn in your personal and professional career that will continue to reward you for the rest of your life.
7. Personal Growth
If you’re not growing, you’re slowly dying.
My mentor Jim Rohn said that, “Formal education will make you a living. Self-education will make you a fortune.”
I took this advice to heart when I first heard it. And here, allow me to share with you a personal story.
I was fortunate enough to graduate from University as a Valedictorian. And as you may know, the generally accepted theory is that you've got to be a nerd in order to finish as a Valedictorian.
Believe it or not, I wasn't one. And it also didn't happen by studying longer and harder hours during exam period. In fact, my preparation started months BEFORE the exam period.
Right after the class would end, I would come back in my dorm room, and I would read books, take notes, feed my mind with abundant, educational information.
When my colleagues asked me to go out with them, I would almost always say “No” politely, because I had other priorities to work for. In the morning, while following my exercise routine, I’d listen to audiobooks.
When my peers went to parties, I sat silently in my room, nourishing my mind, studying the fields that were of interest to me.
Now, I'm not saying this to mean "Look at me, how special I am..." And it also doesn't mean that in order to be a Valedictorian you have to follow the same path I did. Of course not! You can simply study harder than anyone else during exam period and you’ll probably get straight A's.
But you see, that wasn't my focus.
I was never focused on whether I’ll get the highest marks or not. I cared about my personal growth more than anything. And strangely enough, without focusing on the marks, I would always get the highest ones nevertheless.
I was lucky to realize early enough that the marks you get don’t define you. But who you are and who you become in the process most certainly will.
I also came to the same conclusion Tony Robbins did: progress equals happiness. If you’re not growing, you’ll never be happy. Period.
If we grow, the last thing becomes possible: we have something to give. We only have something to give that's special if we grow.
Here's the thing: If you just give to yourself, you don't feel alive. You've got to contribute beyond yourself to feel like your life is meaningful. As Tony Robbins said, "Life is not about me, it's about we."
By creating happiness for others, you‘ll end up creating happiness for yourself. To be happy, make others happy. It’s that simple.
Giving is a powerful system for bringing bliss into your life. Of course, it must be authentic. It must be genuine. It must come from your inner willingness to help others, not imposed from the outside.
And by the way, it has nothing to do with money. Yes, you can give money to the Church, you can give money to charities, you can give money to homeless people – these are all forms of giving and contribution.
However, financial contribution is not the ultimate form of sacrifice. The ultimate form of sacrifice is giving oneself.
From going the extra mile on a project to doing an extra house chore without being asked; from smiling and saying good morning, excuse me, and thank you with authenticity to leaving little notes of gratitude to the people that really matter to you.
A compliment to a coworker, a handwritten note of appreciation, inviting someone to get ahead of you in line – these seemingly insignificant little things are wonderful forms of giving wholeheartedly and they'll also contribute to elevated levels of happiness.
You see, contrary to popular belief, life is not just about seeking pleasure and avoiding pain. Life is really about creating meaning. And meaning does not come from what you get, it comes from what you give.
As all the ancient sages and spiritual leaders have taught us, it's not what you get in life that matters. Rather, it's who you become and what legacy you leave behind.
Watch this short video to understand why the secret to living is giving.
You and I both know that mastery takes time, persistence, and determination.
No matter how high or low you've rated yourself in any of these areas, you and I both know that there's always place for improvement.
You truly deserve to live an extraordinary life. And we know that it will take ALL of these areas to reach that level.
You'll have to achieve a level of mastery in your health, in your emotional management, in your relationships, and in your career or business. You'll have to master the game of money, take your productivity to the next level and invest in your personal growth.
And ultimately, if you truly want to live an abundant life, you'll need to consider contributing to a cause bigger than yourself.
I wish that for you, and I really hope that this guide has served you well on that journey!
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