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Why Mastery  
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What Is Mastery?
Mastery is the ability to blend skills and knowledge in a specific area of practice – a profession, trade, athletics, science or the arts. Mastery is practice not knowledge alone. Mastery of any field takes instruction, practice, stamina, setbacks, and intentionality. After years of practice, one knows exactly when and how to swing a bat to get a homerun; read a P&L to get at the subtleties of an organization; recognize students’ needs and instantly redesign a presentation; or hear a certain sound and know a machine is about to malfunction.
Who Are Masters?
Masters are the people at the “top of their game” in a profession, trade, the arts, or sciences. They have mastered all of the basic practices in their field. Masters are the natural leaders and mentors in human history. They raise the bar of human achievement and pave the way for breakthroughs and innovation for those that follow. Some current masters and their fields of endeavor include…

Nelson Mandela Leadership-Global Peace Oprah Winfrey Education-TV Producer
Yo Yo Ma Music-Cellist Ted Turner Entertainment-TV
Tiger Woods Athletics-Golf Annie Leibowitz The Arts-Photography
Bill Gates Technology-Marketing Steven Spielberg Film-Producer
Lance Armstrong Athletics-Cycling
Wangari Maathai Science-Ecology


Each of these people has a deep command of the basic practices embedded in their trade or profession. We have masters in all professions, trades, arts and crafts. Some places to study masters Include: the history of the Nobel prizes at www.Nobelprize.org.; Pulitzer prize winners at www.pulitzer.org.; fellowship recipients at www.macfound.org.; or recipients of the National Medal of Arts at www.nea.gov/honors/medals.

“Almost without exception, those we know as masters are dedicated to the fundamentals of their calling. They are zealots of practice, connoisseurs of the small, incremental step. At the same time – and here’s the paradox – these people are precisely the ones who are likely to challenge previous limits, to take risks for the sake of higher performance, and seen to become obsessive at times in that pursuit. Clearly, for them the key is not either/or, it’s both/and.” ….George Leonard

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Question: When you think of masters, who do you think of in your organization and industry?

Click below to read about the masters listed below:
photo of Nelson Mandela Nelson Mandela
photo of Yo Yo Ma Yo Yo Ma
photo of Tiger Woods Tiger Woods
photo of Bill Gates Bill Gates
photo of Lance Armstrong Lance Armstrong
photo of Oprah Winfrey Oprah Winfrey
photo of Ted Turner Ted Turner
photo of Annie Leibowitz Annie Leibowitz
photo of Steven Spielberg Steven Spielberg
photo of Wangari Maathai Wangari Maathai  

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