There’s a talk on TED that I came across recently that features BLACK, the Japanese YoYo World Champion. In it, he talks about finding his life’s passion (YoYos) when he was 8 years old, and devoting every spare minute to practicing, in order to show the world just how spectacular the YoYo can be. His journey to YoYo excellence was not without its ups and downs (sorry!), but he’s now a professional performer and a true master of his craft.

yo-yo mastery

Conventional wisdom is that it takes 10,000 hours of application to master a skill, though of course this depends on the discipline being practiced. However, the rewards for this effort can be magnificent. BLACK describes how he temporarily gave up his passion when he felt it wasn’t valued by the world, to become a systems engineer, but that he only felt truly alive when he returned to it. To use the latest buzz word/lifestyle concept, YoYo is his Ikigai (Ick-ee-guy) – his reason for being. So from mastery comes fulfilment. You could call him a Lucky Guy! 

There’s a difference between being an expert and being a master. An expert will have much experience or skill in his or her area, whereas a master will have command. There’s the old joke about experts that you might have heard…an ‘Ex’ is a has-been, a ‘Spurt’ is a drip under pressure… want to be known as a has-been drip under pressure? No thanks. 

In his book ‘Mastery’ Robert Greene describes how masters including Leonardo Da Vinci, Mozart, Charles Darwin and Henry Ford achieved their status, through time, dedication and sacrifice. The importance of feeling ‘called’ to a discipline, vocation or career is highlighted (Ikigai again), as is the importance of learning, focus, and patience.  

“Most people have no idea of the giant capacity we can immediately command when we focus all our resources on mastering a single area of our lives” says superstar Life Coach Tony Robbins. This is echoed by BLACK: ”If I make enough efforts with huge passion, there is no impossible”. 

Autumn Masterclasses are available for those who’d like to master Continuous Improvement. You may wish to bring your YoYo.