Mastery Every Day, All The Time

Steven Barnes
3 min readNov 23, 2022

Masters are constantly learning, doing and teaching.

I am grateful for my mentors and role models.

I am grateful for having clear basic understandings in my basic arenas. What a blessing!

I am grateful for a tribe of people willing to actually work on themselves, and understand that the majority of life is just “chop wood, carry water.” And take joy in it.

If I have all three, my success in life is 100% guaranteed, because if I am grateful, I am joyful. If I am joyful, I am ALREADY WINNING, since most people believe they will be “joyful” or “feel gratitude” if they get the thing they are working for.

They have it precisely backwards. Take joy in being the person who can do the things that maximize your chances of reaching the goal. Then, not only do you start where others end, but you also increase your chances of entering flow, and a non-dualistic state of focus, which is the doorway to that union of conscious and unconscious that is about the last thing you can do to optimize your odds of a “genius” level breakthrough.

You cannot PREDICT breakthroughs, except statistically, stochastically, by nurturing the ODDS of producing them by being in a high-energy, fertile, focused flow state.

There are things you can control. Call them “dogs”.

Then there are things that exist, that we experience, that we cannot control. Call them “cats.”

One way to look at the process is to be so busy training and nurturing and playing with your “dogs” that the “cats” get jealous and wander over to rub against your legs and try to trip you on the stairs.

And feeling JOY and GRATITUDE is one thing we can control. How? We control our emotions three ways:

  1. What we focus on
  2. How we move our bodies
  3. The language we use, internal and external.

I love “triangles”, three-part structures of thought or action. When they ring true, they feel extra powerful. Simple enough to really grasp and test. Powerful enough to be life changing.

So…how do we test this triangle? We can do it “Via Negitiva” of course….examine the opposite case.

  1. If I focus on the horrors and tragedies of life, does my mood grow pale?
  2. If I hunch, breathe shallowly, and frown…do I feel small and helpless?

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Steven Barnes

Steven Barnes is a NY Times bestselling author, ecstatic husband and father, and holder of black belts in three martial arts. www.lifewritingpodcast.com.