Where did the desire to “master your life” come from? Was it from a mentor or life experiences or something you had researched?
DR JOHN DEMARTINI - Updated 2 years ago
I first heard the term “self mastery” when I was around eighteen years old. I didn’t fully understand what it meant, but I knew deep inside myself that I wanted to master my life. Over time, I came to realize that there were certain areas that I wanted to be proficient in, beginning with overcoming my learning problems and mastering reading, learning and expanding my vocabulary. This later grew to include my desire to become a polymath – someone whose expertise lies in not one but a wide number of subjects. So, in essence, the first area I desired to master was learning, education, knowledge, vocabulary, reading, understanding and wisdom or things of an educational, teaching and intellectual nature.
That led me to the second area that I wanted to master, which was physiology and all the disciplines revolving around health or wellness. That led me to study embryology, physiology, gross anatomy, biology, myology, cardiology, and pathology – in fact, everything about the physical body down to the quantum level.
Then I hit the age of twenty-three and realized that I had responsibilities to pay for school, my apartment and all the books that I desired to help me learn. This led to my desire to master the teaching process in exchange for income. I'd been doing some tutoring and teaching to earn a small income, but I wanted to master the ability to teach and present and learn to make progressively more money doing it. I wanted to be paid profitably to learn and teach.
In my late twenties, I opened up my own practice and realized that I needed to learn how to manage my time and my finances. So, I set out to master both of those. Then I met my first wife and that led to an enormous growth curve as I was then driven to learn how to self-reflect, communicate, and manage the financial responsibilities of a house and then family. Then I realized the importance of creating a social network to grow my practice, so I set out to learn more about and master that. I was also very interested in spirituality and spent a lot of time studying comparative religions in my twenties.
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As you can see, slowly but surely from the age of eighteen to about twenty-eight, all seven areas of life emerged as being important to me. I began looking for seminars that could put it all together and show me how to master each of these seven areas, and I couldn’t find one – only many with often contradictory opinions. It was then that I realized that it was up to me to create one, which I did. This further assisted me in my learning and of self mastering each area. It was also deeply meaningful for me to go make a difference in people's lives. I have a narcissistic need to want to master my own life and an altruistic need to want to serve other people and help them master their lives.
And I want you to do the same - to be an expert in whatever area is deeply meaningful to you. What is most important to you and what is highest on your list of values is where you will spontaneously want to learn, and the area in which you want to excel – at least initially – like it was for me learning about wellness and physiology.
So, the journey towards self mastery begins with knowing what is highest on your list of values?
Every human being on the planet, regardless of age, gender or culture, has a set of priorities or values. These priorities can evolve and change as you grow, but at any moment in your life, you have values that are most important to you which dictate your perceptions, decisions and actions.
Anytime you are setting goals and intentions that are aligned to what you value most, you have the highest probability of achieving them, seeing the possibilities, making decisions quickly and taking actions that you will actually see through to completion. When you do things that are high on your list of values, you will tend to grow in self-worth, be spontaneously inspired, have more fuel and energy, automatically expand your time and space horizons, and give yourself permission to do something more extraordinary with self mastery.
On the flip side, anytime you are doing lower priority actions, you devalue yourself. You're automatically engaging the lower – more primitive part of the brain where you want immediate gratification rather than recognizing your long-term vision. This tends to shroud and cloud the clarity of your more inspiring mission and self mastery. It also hinders the power that you have to make a difference in the world.
Knowing your highest values enables you to align your life’s actions with the actions and objectives that mean the most to you. Not being aware of those highest values makes it exponentially more difficult to create a meaningful life and achieve self mastery.
The free Value Determination Process on my website is a great place to start, if you have yet to determine your values and their demonstrated priority.
You talk about empowering all seven areas of your life – what are those seven areas and why is it important to empower all of them and not just a few?
To me, all seven areas are wise to empower if you want to master your life. I'm certain that people who master all seven areas have a more fulfilled life than people who master just one or two.
The seven areas are:
- Your spiritual or inspired mission;
- Your mental genius/creativity;
- Your vocational success, achievement, service;
- Your financial freedom/independence;
- Your family love and intimacy and continuance of procreation;
- Your social influence and leadership; and
- Your physical health, stamina, strength and well-being.
You’ve spoken before about how any of these seven areas that we don’t empower, someone else will overpower. Can you tell us a bit more about that?
I love filling my day with high priority actions that truly inspire me and that serves others and not with what often becomes distracting from the requests of others. And I would love for you to do the same. I would love for you to live your life with inspiration, and not desperately out of duty to what you think it ‘should’ be or ‘ought’ to be or ‘supposed' to be by only conforming to outer society. I would love for you to go and fulfil your life and master your life the way it is designed by you.
I'm certain that it’s doable and it's a very inspiring and grateful place to be, because I’m living it. I'm exemplifying it, so I know it's possible. And it's inspiring to get up in the morning and know that you can contribute and expand and empower all areas. There’s no reason why you can’t do it.
There are many people living in mediocrity who have accepted conformity and lived in the shadows of other people. It is wiser to not be one of them. Go do something extraordinary. Your life is your life, and nobody's going to dedicate their life to the fulfillment of your life. You're in it. So please give yourself permission to shine and let yourself master all areas.
Does self mastery have anything to do with having a clear vision for your life?
I once asked Rupert Murdoch how he built his media empire. And he said that he takes a globe in his hand and he spins it around and he says, “What message do I want to bring to what country today?” In other words, he had a celestial view of the earth.
I believe in awakening your astronomical vision. Think about Richard Branson and Elon Musk who are clearly thinking astronomically, which is why they are creating global effects.
If you dominate your thoughts, your vision, your internal dialogue, your feelings and your actions on what it is that you would love in each area, you will move in that direction and you will notice that the opportunities around you become more synchronized to help you get there.
How does self mastery come into play during times that you perceive to be filled with crisis, challenges or obstacles?
Wisdom is the instantaneous recognition that a crisis is a blessing, and even greater wisdom recognizes that blessings can also be with their crises. When we truly understand that, we're less likely to be upset about difficulties or elated about opportunities; we remain centered no matter what happens around us. That is one of the secrets of self mastery – equanimity and centeredness.
When you know that so-called challenging or terrible events aren't so terrible and so-called supportive things aren't so terrific, you can be quietly grateful for whatever occurs. Balance is neither pessimism, nor optimism. It doesn't lean to one side or the other, but sits poised and present in the middle. It is "gratefulism," and that is both wisdom and true power. All events are balanced, and when you know it, you remain true to yourself rather than being driven by your hopes and fears, fantasies and nightmares. You stay present on your path of self mastery.
When you buy into the moral fantasy of better and worse, seeking the illusion of one-sided greener pastures, you're never certain or present, or satisfied with your life the way it is. You think, Someday I'll find a way to let my wife and children know how much I really love them. Someday when things are ‘better’, I'll start that business, take that trip, or write that book. You live on “someday time”, which doesn't exist.
Napoleon Hill, the author of Think and Grow Rich once said, "Don't look for opportunities in the far distances of space and time, but embrace them right where you are, because where you are already has the perfection and the balance." Right this minute you have everything you need to fulfill and master your life.
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