surpass your mentors

How To Surpass Even The Best Mentors

The student has become the master.

The words every young grasshopper wants to hear, but how do you get there?

In Robert Greene’s Mastery he reveals the process all masters followed to become great. From Einstein to Mozart, they walked the same steps.

And you’ll walk the same path if you want to be great. If you want to be remembered.

This post is part of our Lessons From Mastery Series in which we’ve covered all of the steps to Mastery.

Today, we focus on the process of finding, studying under and eventually stepping out of the shadow of even the best mentors in your field.

Here’s how you do that…

Need To Find a Mentor? If you need help finding a mentor read How To Find The Best Mentors For Free.

Steal Your Mentors Superpowers

the student has become the master

In Mastery Robert Greene lays out the 3 phases for you to acquire the student has become the master status:

  • Phase 1: Deep Observation
  • Phase 2: Skills Acquisition
  • Phase 3: Experimentation

Let’s dig into each step a little deeper…

Phase 1: Deep Observation

During the observation phase its time to remember you have two ears, two eyes and one mouth.

Pay attention deeply. Listen. Focus.

The goal is to observe everything, even if you don’t understand it. Your mind will want you to ask questions, to seek understanding. Don’t.

Your ego will want you to show you understand and will want you to prove yourself. Don’t.

Simply listen. Immerse yourself deeply in nothing but observing.

“The greatest mistake you can make in the initial months of your apprenticeship is to imagine that you have to get attention, impress people, and prove yourself. These thoughts will dominate your mind and close it off from the reality around you.”

Mastery, Robert Greene

Phase 2: Skills Acquisition

In phase 2 its time to learn to do what the mentor does incredibly well.

But don’t try to learn all of their skills at the same time. Start with ONE skill and master that before you move on.

“First, it is essential that you begin with one skill that you can master, and that serves as a foundation for acquiring others. You must avoid at all cost the idea that you can manage learning several skills at a time. You need to develop your powers of concentration, and understand that trying to multitask will be the death of the process.”


Yes it will be boring, but its the process so suck it up. No one said mastery was going to be easy. This is where the 99% quit, don’t be one of them.

In the book Greene emphasises the need for you to focus without distraction:

“This process of hardwiring cannot occur if you are constantly distracted, moving from one task to another. In such a case, the neural pathways dedicated to this skill never get established; what you learn is too tenuous to remain rooted in the brain. It is better to dedicate two or three hours of intense focus to a skill than to spend eight hours of diffused concentration on it. You want to be as immediately present to what you are doing as possible.”


Show up, do the work and reap the rewards. Remember, success isn’t an event, its a process.

Phase 3: Experimentation

During this phase its time to make the mentors abilities your own and then exceed them!

Here’s how you do that:

  1. Be bold, imaginative and try out your skills as you emerge from apprenticeship
  1. Prevent complacency, examine problems from all angles and continue to expand your knowledge
  1. As you approach proficiency, go beyond the guidelines and restricting status quo that defines what is common – welcome originality and chaos.
  1. Do so without embracing the romantic cultural misconceptions around imagination – imagination demands proficiency, and there are no faster ways to mastery.

In Summary

There you have it! The process for you to get the student has become the master status and live the rest of your days as a master yourself.

Got questions? Hit us up in the comments below.

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