I write on my birthday every year. What was once chicken scratch in a journal has now become an annual blog post. When I turned 41, I wrote about all the endeavors I was going to tackle. When I turned 42, I celebrated the the 20 Mile March, and the pursuit of daily self-actualization. Last night when I was thinking about writing today, I remembered Sarah Lewis’ talk called “Embrace the Near Win.” She talks about how when you are a master of something, it means that you’ve realized you’re never done. Success is just one moment in time, but mastery is performance over time. Sarah states, “Mastery is not a commitment to a goal, but to a constant pursuit.”
As I sit here today, now officially 43, I know I don’t want to be a master of any one particular thing. When examining my life thus far, I never have been. Instead, I want to master the art of living, in constant pursuit of a life worth living. I want to look back at my life as one who lived with few regrets and way more satisfaction. That’s not really a novelty as a lot of people walk around stating that, but are they really doing that? As Sarah states, that satisfaction doesn’t come from hitting the mark necessarily, but from the effort that we put forth going for it over and over and over. It comes from our marks on the near wins and marks on the failures. It comes from realizing that the successful moment or magical second is just one instance in time, and that there is way more that needs to be done. I know that now and I know that I certainly didn’t believe this twenty years ago. Shift happens.
I now look at my goals as a constant check and adjust. I know for sure that I am someone who will always set goals with a plan because that is how I am successful. I believe:
However, I now understand that to be a master in the art of living, I have to do much more than that. I have to model what it means to fail, and what it means to try again. I have to be the person who is in a constant state of continuous improvement with everything I want my life to be. I have to be seeking for the next step again and again and again.
People always give advice about life: “Don’t give up!” “You can do it!” “You can be anything you put your mind to.” “Live your dreams.”….., but what if our lives weren’t focused around achieving our goals, but instead, our near wins?
“The pursuit of mastery is an ever, onward, almost.”-Sarah Lewis