20 Famous Quotes on Mastery


Mastery in any form is an idealized goal. It is what lays at the heart of every sport, every academic exercise, and every struggling ego. It is the way we define ourselves and the importance of things in our lives. It defines our role, and how we choose to see others. While the end goal is easy to imagine, getting there is significantly more challenging. To that end, lets review some of the quotes given by the masters themselves.

“One can have no smaller or greater mastery then mastery of oneself.”

Leonardo Da Vinci hits the nail on the head with this quote. Prior to becoming perfect at any given task, we as individuals must first strive towards mastery of ourselves. This means not only control over basic desires and instincts, but a true sense of who we are and how we tick. With many people running away from the idea of therapy and psychology (for what it may reveal about themselves) mastery of oneself has never been more important.

“Mistakes and failures are precisely your means of education. They tell you about your own inadequacies.”

No one is born perfect. In addition, no one is born having already mastered something. So then, mastery requires learning, trials, success, and yes, failures. Robert Greene, responsible for the above quote rightly emphasizes the importance of failure as a tool for learning. With failure comes a deeper understanding of us, and our own fears regarding our inadequacy. By approaching this and coming back stronger then ever, we educate ourselves on how to live successfully, taking one more step towards mastery.

“Become what you are by learning who you are.”

One of the most important lessons on the road to mastery is learning about motivation. What motivates you and your actions? What makes you, as Pindar stated, “what you are?” As individuals, we have a tendency to envision our “idealized selves.” These define what we are, and who we strive to be when it comes to the topic of mastery. However, without having an idea of what intrinsically motivates us, then we have no idea of how to work towards mastery. That is where learning who we are in the moment is the best way to project a path towards mastery. Regardless of the topic, by better understanding what we really want (removed from what we think we should want,) we can feel more confident and work towards the right goals.