Here's an interesting quote from the ancient tome Bushido: The Way of the Samurai...
An old retired swordsman once said, "There are levels in the course of mastery throughout your life..."
He goes on to define them as the lowest level, the middle level, the high level, and the higher level. He describes each level in some detail, and though those descriptions are certainly insightful, I was most intrigued by what he said comes after the "higher level."
Beyond this higher level, there is one further step: the level of the trackless road. If you travel deep into the trackless road, infinite secrets will finally appear. Then you can never see the end of your mastery. Then you truly realize how lacking you are. You have only to go ahead with your intention of mastery in mind. You go forward without pride and without humility...Your life is something you build every day. You must convince yourself that you have surpassed yesterday. And tomorrow you must feel that you have surpassed today. In this way there is no end to your mastery."
I really like the perspective I see in these words--a perspective that says Mastery of Life isn't about always looking at the distant horizon where you envision yourself eventually becoming the biggest and best version of yourself. It's about looking at who you are today, and moving yourself one small step closer to mastery today than you were yesterday.
This perspective seems to come naturally to us in the arena of athletics. Long distance runners, for instance, know that training for a marathon isn't about going out and running 26 miles right off the bat. It's about running a little farther or a little faster today than you ran yesterday, or last week. "In this way," says the samurai, "there is no end to your mastery."
Here's to the power of small daily change.