Joe Navarro is an FBI agent that is widely recognized as a world expert in body language. Indeed, that is how I discovered him, when he gave a TEDx talk on the power of nonverbal communication.
His book on the subject is perhaps the best there is.
However, through another publication of his, he noted self-mastery as his most important trait for success. You would think it would be the ability to observe people, but it was not. That ability, like all others, stems from one’s ability to master themselves first.
Navarro was a immigrant from Cuba, fleeing the revolution. Like many others in his position, he had to learn many things on his own and without proper context or guidance. For example, even after he learned english, he didn’t understand nursery rhymes.
Self-mastery, according to Navarro, was the key in realizing the need to get better and then understanding how to do that.
Similar to many of things we write about, understanding yourself and others is a critical key to living a high-performance lifestyle. Whether we like it or not, we are all in the business of people and the knowledge, emotions, curiosity, and internal drive is what leads to a uncommon life.
The hidden factor in creating the life you want is to first be aware of what is working, what is not, and how you can change. Conscientiousness, in this regard, cannot be understated as the most important indicator of success.
Self-mastery is about who we are as people, apart from what we do. Much of that boils down to what we can conscientiousness.
When you master this emotional skill, you can blend knowledge, technical skills, facts, and a unique understanding of the situation to see what others do not.
APPRENTICESHIP: THE KNOWLEDGE ADVANTAGE
Navarro had a lot to learn as a immigrant kid a week removed from the Bay of Pigs. Citing many of history’s greats regarding self-knowledge, Navarro writes that the secret to success is something Benjamin Franklin discovered centuries ago: that knowledge, curiosity, adaptability, hard work, and a yearning for more knowledge can make your life better.
Who you are has nothing to do with where you went to school, how much you earn, or what level of job you have.
Relying on others to help guide your self-improvement may be the best route, but it is also unreliable and highly volatile. Creating a program for yourself, grounded in a deep understand of what works best for you, is the only true path to lifelong success. You are, after all, the only person you can truly rely on. Your thoughts, actions, and behaviors are the only thing you can control.
How do you gain self-mastery?
Life is too complex to not come at each day with a plan; I fail myself and those around me because without that list, I become too easily distracted. It’s only when I make that list and prioritize and reprioritize tasks throughout the day that I get things done and achieve my full potential.
Do you/are you:
♦ Accomplish tasks while being mindful of your responsibilities toward others,the community, and the environment.
♦ Aware of the consequences of your actions.
♦ Practice a productive pattern of actions when upset.
♦ Delay gratification when other things take precedence.
♦ Have the humility to know you’re not always right.
♦ Dependable, disciplined, persistent, and well-intentioned.
♦ Able to apply yourself to learning and study and have the ability to start and finish projects, persisting regardless of obstacles.
♦ Take advantage of your precious minutes – precisely 1,440 minutes per day.
♦ Practice perfection by rehearsing small segments of a process over and over again (deliberate practice).
♦ Persevere by steadily taking action towards the person you want to be.
Setting priorities and not losing sight of them leads to self-mastery by giving you control over your life through the deliberate choices you make, day by day, hour by hour, about where you put your energy and effort. Our priorities define who we are.
Developing the habits of self-mastery is the most profound way you can value yourself. When you master yourself, you gain the trust and admiration of others.
Others seek out those that they admire to emulate and thus transfer a sort of power to those that command the one thing they do not: themselves.
Regardless of who you are or where you are from, you can gain an advantage and rise to the top of any profession, including the FBI in a foreign country, by mastering the one thing most cannot: yourself.