- Socrates and Plato
- Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla
- Humphrey Davy and Michael Faraday
- Robert Greene and Ryan Holiday
The ones on left are masters while the ones on right are their apprentices.
A master is a wise person who is highly devoted and skilled in their art and has gained a level of mastery not only in their specific niche of work, but also in life. Sometimes also called mentor but that is often used for professors who guide students in post grad and further in education.
An apprentice is a learner who seeks knowledge from the pool of invaluable wisdom and art of a master while creating something worth value to self and the world. Also called mentee but that is again, often used in formal education to refer to those students who learn from mentors.
A mentor or mentee may not necessarily be a master or apprentice respectively.
In this world where uniqueness and specialty are exclusive to food, garments and other things to lure in customers, a well deserving individual turns from someone who they could have been to a mediocre, just another chap. Read that once again and let it sink in your head that has been constantly invaded by the not so rewarding educational programming since the day you stepped into play school. I am not a critique to the education we get in formal institutions but I am also not a supporter to that scenario that is creating a false sense of learning among young individuals. All my life until this point, I have had more than three dozen teachers (maybe even more) who came to teach me. Whether it was their choice or my compulsion, I am still figuring that out. Anyways, this is not about what we lack but about what we can do to make way to being somebody better than we were before. In this time where we want more of innovation than sycophancy, there is a huge crisis of mastery. Specifically, this post is about masters and how to find one for yourself and two small steps I took to find one in my life.
I have to admit this with due disregard and non replaceable blame to all those who have taught me all through my life that they did a pathetic job at making me who I am now. I am still working on a lot of things, but what I lacked all through those two decades of my life was a master.
A teacher is the one who teaches. Simple and silly thing to write, I know. Teaching happens for a few hours regarding specific thing(s) at a particular location and you go and do your homework. You come back with the work done and please your teacher to get approval in form of tangible things that we refer to as report cards, mark sheets and maybe a letter of recommendation for future use. All of that somehow in some way, shape or form is for further use in a résumé while you go for job and become a corporate slave who lives in denial of their own self. Harsh and real, you know. A teacher comes with a price and often it is paid in the form of money or any other resource no matter how subtle and modest the teacher maybe. There are a lot of people who know their respective subjects but I wonder how many people are there to teach a 20 year old kid who is lost in life on how to move ahead while being their best and having a purpose to live for.
A master is a person who has quality experience in doing those things in life that you lack competence in or plan to improve and build upon. Here the relationship is two way. You meet their needs and they meet yours. They don’t get payment for teaching you as this is not a transaction and unlike what happens in educational institutions, this is a human relation at its core. Here learning goes way beyond a particular location and reaches more depths than one can imagine. You spend a lot of time together learning and being a better human being. You don’t seek validation by being with a master just so that you can put it in your résumé. What you learn is life skills, habits, overcoming your shadows, getting into your inner world and most importantly, creating your purpose. You don’t get into apprenticeship to show others that you did it, but to genuinely work on your life and do the work that you are doing in an excellent way. This comes with a price of commitment to oneself and also to your master. A master is as good a master as long as an apprentice is as good as an apprentice. It takes more time, sweat and energy (sometimes even blood) to become competent at life than to master the taxation policy of previous decade’s economic scheme. This is something that can never be bought for this is experienced learning. You can’t fake it and there are no shortcuts to it other than to take the long route in time.
The trouble with this subject of master(s) and mastery is that it is hard to find a worthy one in today’s time where everybody is in a rat race that has more participants than winners. The never ending battle to succumb to the status quo has turned us away from our own desires, ambitions and our inherent character and personality traits. More often than not we fail to realise we no longer need to study more, but to experience more. These are two different things and while you can satiate the hunger for knowledge with teaching, the way to gain wisdom is through mastery. For the former we have teachers and professors (even mentors) in closed walls while for the latter we have masters in the world that is full of new opportunities and learning.
Now that you have some idea(s) and curiosity wandering in your heads, I shall go ahead with two simple steps to being an apprentice and finding a master.
– Find what you want to do and learn specifically what you are good at and where you lack competence. Your skills can be as diverse as possible ranging among boxing, poetry, programming, comedy, jujitsu, harmonium and more. This is not the only way to begin but many people are so out of tune with themselves, this serves as a great step to begin with. A man skilled with swords and arms can’t run a spacecraft and an amazing cook can’t play in Olympics for the most sane and rational part. We have a lot of potential but let’s be real this time. The basic idea to being an apprentice and improve your skills is to know what you have and what you want to have. Besides your specific skills, find the areas of your life where you want to improve and where your strength lies. These maybe among relationships with opposite sex (or gender), money and income, physical health, emotional strength, time management and more. So now that we know our work and ourselves, it is time to step up the game.
– After you have found out your specific areas to improve and build upon in work and in yourself, it is time to look for a master. A master may be older than you or may even be younger. It is not the age that matters; it is the expertise and level of mastery over their skill that matters. Find those people who are one step ahead of you and spend some time with them without being an energy sucker. Don’t put them on pedestal and worship them. Instead, become somebody they would need in their life like you need somebody in yours. For example, if they want somebody to manage their website, connect them to a computer nerd. Meet their wants and they’ll allow you to spend time with them to learn what you want. A rotten apple spreads its disease to all others in crate. A sweet smelling flower adds fragrance to its surrounding ones. Become that surrounding flower to seek fragrance and give up the company of rotten apples.
That’s it. Life is sorted out. Two small steps to build the bridge among reality and dreams.
Some people take this advice too seriously and without specific personalisation and tweaking. Later they wonder why they still are where they were when they began. The idea is to not be a value robbing loser but a priority meeting social being. Most people are happy to help other folks in areas in which they are themselves good at. The relationship between a master and apprentice is that of win-win and not a parasitic or symbiotic one. Create an environment where both of you are sharing your time for each other’s betterment. Working with a master as an apprentice is the best thing I have ever done. I can go as far as to say that the human beings who I saw and heard while I was in those classrooms sitting on my desk, they were not even a fraction of worth of those who I really learned from in my life. Leave the constant struggle to learn and really begin to learn, for life is too short to do what you are told and not long enough to wait for what you want to begin with.
For your feedback, queries and any sort of thing to share, mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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