The Master and You

I love gratitude stories. You know the type: a disguised master meets a beginner. With his sharp intuition, the master sees something in the beginner that he didn’t see: a certain talent, a quality or a precious personality trait. And, without revealing his true identity, the master gives the beginners a chance. He points him to a specific direction or just push him to do some work. Make him use his precious, yet hidden talent. In years, the beginners become a new master.

And somewhere near the top of his career, the beginner, now a master, remembers that story and tells it to world: “If it wasn’t for that master, I wouldn’t be here now. He saw something in me that I didn’t. He made me chose my path. Thanks to him, I am now a master, ready to teach others.”

I’m telling you, I’m in love with these stories. That specific moment in which the master sees “through” the other person is the key. That moment is the ignition of a new existence. That subtle moment in which the reality veils are transparent changes an entire life. What’s interesting is that most of the time us, the beginners, don’t even realize that. We just follow somebody’s advice and, magically, everything starts to “click” around us. We’re suddenly on the right path. And we don’t know we actually met a master until 20 years have passed.

Seeing the Invisible

Now, how exactly a master sees “through” a person? Is this specific ability something you learn? Or something you just naturally get when you’re born? Is this a gift? A special talent? I always was curious about that.

Browsing through those gratitude stories, an idea popped out. What if?…

What if the master doesn’t see the invisible? What if the master is not aware of any hidden talent in the beginner? And he’s just planting a seed? Now, that’s something to think about, right?

What if instead of seeing something which is already there, he is just imagining something that could be? Maybe the master is just “seeing” the beginner in 20 years as a master, nothing more. He trust the beginner to become a master. Maybe there’s nothing really special about that beginner and all that’s happening is just a simple, human hope that the master set up for the person in front of him. “Just do that, and everything will be fine with you”, tells the master, and the beginner, relieved and sure that now everything will be fine, start doing what he does best.

The more I read those gratitude stories about masters and beginners, the more I’m inclined to think that masters are just setting up high expectations. They see something, but what they really see is something which is not there. Yet. It’s just a hope, a potential. In the end, it’s the beginner’s hard work which makes that hope real, not that hidden quality.

Meet Your Master

If there’s nothing magic about those masters, if they’re human just like us and they don’t need anything supernatural to “see”, it means we can play a little game. If all you need to be a master is to set a high hope, why don’t just do it yourself? Like right now.

Let’s start a game in which the players are you and the future you.

Pretend you’re the master. Play this role. Look at yourself and “see” something you want to become. The person you’ll be in 20 years from now. How is that person? Happy? Balanced? Successful? You’re the master, you can “see” that person anyway you want. You’ll make a difference around you? You’re going to create something fantastic? See it. Remember, you are the master, you can see it.

And once you focused on that image, just tell to yourself that everything will be fine. “Just do your best and everything will click around”. And keep thinking to yourself: “I’m the master and I know that for sure”.

All you have to do now is to follow the master’s advice. Start doing your best, relieved and sure that everything will be fine.

As innocent as it may seem, this game is really, really powerful. Because it makes you understand the only real difference between you and a life master: the life master knows that everything is possible. That’s the only difference between a beginner and a mentor: the mentor knows through his own experience that there aren’t any limits to what can be accomplished. Maybe he tells you to insist on a certain quality you have, but it’s not that quality which makes you stand out and be successful. It’s your own work and determination and trust.

Nothing is really impossible. Just think about it…

Give Yourself A Chance

What if you are the master who sees something in yourself nobody else’s sees? What if you plant a seed so valuable yet so hidden in you that, within years of constant effort and work, will make you the master of your own life? Why don’t you give yourself a chance?

20 years from now, near the top of your career, you’re going to tell one of those gratitude stories I love so much: you’re going to thank to yourself. 🙂



Running For My Life - from zero to ultramarathoner


The spooky thing about depression is that it sneaks in. There aren’t really trumpets and loud voices announcing: “Hail, hail, this is depression entering the room, all rise!” Nope. It’s slow, silent, creepy. It doesn’t even look like depression. It starts with small isolation thoughts like: “Maybe I shouldn’t get out today, I just don’t feel like going out”. And then it does the same next day. And then the day after that and so on. And then it starts to whisper louder and louder in your ears: “Why would you go outside, you loser? Didn’t have enough yet? Want more people to make fun of how much of a big, fat loser you are?”

And then you start to breath in guilt and shame, instead of air. Every breathe you take is putting more dark thoughts into your body.

Until you get stuck. You can’t move anymore. At all.

If you want to know how I got out of this space, eventually, check out my latest book on Amazon and Kindle.

Running For My Life -from zero to ultramarathoner

Dragos Roua

The guy who started all this. Entrepreneur, ultra-marathoner, tanguero, father and risk taker. I'm blogging here, but I also spend a lot of time in this marvelous space.. You're invited, by the way.

This Post Has 26 Comments

  1. I’ve read in Outliers some statistics proving your point: it turns out that pupils doing well in school are not more talented or intelligent, they just benefit from more support than the others.

    If you take pupils in a classroom and you divide them in 2 groups, and you start encouraging the students from group 1 and putting down students from group 2, after a while, students from the first group will actually get far better results than those from the 2nd group.
    .-= Eugenia´s last blog ..Le Web 2009 Wrap-Up =-.

    1. Didn’t read Outliers but I’ll take Malcolm Gladwell for granted (on this one). Constant encouragement and support is fundamental for a balanced perspective. The nice thing is that you can get support and encouragement from… yourself 😉

    2. In fact there are some studies where researchers choose a completely random group of students and simply tell the teachers that these students are more likely to succeed. The teachers don’t consciously change their behavior, yet the randomly assigned students actually perform better! In social psychology they call it the self-fulfilling prophecy.
      .-= Steven Handel´s last blog ..Why Choose Me As Your Life Coach? =-.

      1. Actually, my bad, they call it the “Observer-expectancy effect” – but it is basically the same exact thing as a self-fulfilling prophecy.
        .-= Steven Handel´s last blog ..Why Choose Me As Your Life Coach? =-.

    3. That sounds like a test done in Germany during WWII. Why would someone possibly think that it was a good idea to test putting people down? ‘Twas a good book.
      .-= McLaughlin´s last blog ..Life Without The Internet =-.

  2. I think the idea is great. You’re just planting the seed. Not “recognizing the Force”.

    2 questions though:

    How does the master then choose who he’s planting the seed in? Cause they don’t run around with seed bags, do they? They must be selecting their pupils. Which brings us back to square 1. Or 1.5…

    Does the principle apply the same if you “plant the seed” in yourself? I believe the key idea in “master stories” is external encouragement. And I know positive self talk is good, but the Pygmalion effect is stronger.

    Basically what you’re saying is simply to acknowledge your possibilities?
    That is indeed a change of perspective.
    But I would still admit that an external “master” is key. If we were all our own masters, why would we be reading personal development blogs, articles, and books?
    .-= Maria´s last blog ..Life Management 101 =-.

    1. As a matter of fact, yes, I do think we’re all carrying huge bags filled with seeds. They’re called opportunities. We’re seldom embracing them though, and that is most of the time because our lack of confidence, or in other terms, validation. We need to know that somebody else “did it” before.

      A master is not a path you work, it’s an example. You give him your trust and you receive validation.

      What I’m basically trying to say here is that we can direct our trust to ourselves and receive validation. That doesn’t mean we are self sustained or self sufficient. We all need inspiration, skills or motivation. It simply means we’re acknowledging the fact that everything is possible (which an external master will “validate” for us). We may still need a master for a specific skill we try to acquire or a part of the path that needs extra light. These are not mutually exclusive.

      The core concept here is “validation”: you, as your own master, plant your seeds and expect them to blossom sometime in the future.

      The game can be played in reverse: are there any things in your life you did 20 years ago that you are grateful for? Things that shaped your life, choices, paths? The person who made those choices was your “master”. Does this makes any sense? 🙂

  3. I was just thinking about the point Eugenia made while I was reading this post. What the teachers think of the students and how much support and encouragement they give makes a huge difference.

    I think believing in yourself is pretty huge and I tend to have grand plans for myself, which usually don’t pan out, because I don’t think I’ll become the emperor of the world, but you never know? In a parallell reality perhaps? Anyway, it’s awesome.
    .-= Henri´s last blog ..Why You Shouldn’t Quit Your Job, Yet =-.

    1. Having grand plans for yourself doesn’t always translates in being the emperor of the world. As a matter of fact, if I think a little bit at all that work an emperor of the world have to do, all that huge responsibility, power struggles, and so on, I don’t really see it as a “Grand” plan.

      Much bigger will be to become just you 🙂

    2. The problem with being your own master is that you have to wait until you are mature enough to understand the concept and to be able to apply it. By then, let’s hope the teachers haven’t screwed you up too much 😛
      .-= Eugenia´s last blog ..Le Web 2009 Wrap-Up =-.

  4. Hi Dragos, this is an awesome post. I’ve always loved those “master/student” stories, too!

    You make an excellent point about planting the seeds, having high hopes and expectations. If you set the bar high, then you’ll probably achieve something pretty close to that (I’ve often discussed this theory with friends raising children… the children may not reach the bar totally, but they’ll be better off striving for it, knowing it’s there to try to reach).

    You also bring up the incredible power of believing in possibilities. I think all of us have an enormous amount of potential in us… just waiting for recognition… and it doesn’t necessarily have to be a “master” who “sees” it… it can be us, too. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughtful, inspiring take on this.

    Cheers,
    Miche 🙂
    .-= Miche | Serenity Hacker´s last blog ..Is Passion Necessary for a Meaningful Life? =-.

    1. Thank you for your comment and welcome to my blog 🙂

      In the end, everything is about how you can translate your endless possibilities into real things. We all have potential. Very few are actually using it 🙂

  5. This was really good Dragos. I appreciate that your thinking process usually leads me down a slightly different path than what I might have expected. That’s a gift my friend.

    If we can help awaken someone’s sense of possibility, they can do the rest. Once someone says: “That really is possible for me,” they have unlocked their own personal potential. Throw in a few new life skills, a dash of motivation, and watch them amaze themselves.

  6. Why all the disciples of Pavlina end up writing blogs about self-development? Well, at least you dont have a donate buttom, as Pavlina and his other bloggers-disciples have.

    1. Thanks for the comment, but I don’t think at myself as a Pavlina disciple. On the contrary 🙂 I appreciate his work and yes, he has something to do with me starting to blog, which I think is something inspirational. I’m really comfortable blogging as my primary activity. On the other hand, I don’t agree with a lot of other things he says, which I think is also pretty much ok. We’re different.

      As for the donate button, there is a link on my blog, not a button 🙂

      All I do is writing what I feel and hope it would be useful for other people. If you made the link between me and Pavlina, it’s your choice. It’s like I would make a link between your name and Rubens, the painter. Just because you share some vocals 🙂

      1. Ruben, that’s like saying why do a lot of followers of Jesus become Christian! It’s called inspiration, when someone inspires you you creatively let it out i.e. through a blog. Dragos has been an inspiration over the last year and I think his ideas are very different from Steve Pavlina’s
        .-= Steven Aitchison´s last blog ..The Key To Become Charismatic =-.

  7. Inspiring and creative. Indeed I thought of Mr Miagi (spelling?) in the first few paragraphs. Visualization is a powerful context. I wish someone would slam me upside the head, slow me down, and get me to do it more. I need to visualize master me planting the seeds of what’s t come for the next few months…I’m too full tilt lately. Good read.
    .-= Robert´s last blog ..Creating Income | Busting Barriers & Mock Testing =-.

  8. Very inspiring Dragos! I definitely will start doing it today – planting the seeds.

    I liked the part about higher expectations, I actually just wrote a post about having no expectations but in a different context. I think we should have high expectation of ourselves and believe in ourselves. This will inspire us to take action. On the other hand I think we should let go of attachmente/expectations of a certain outcome because sometimes certain outcome doesn’t happen and that leads to dissapointment and unhappiness.

    Anyway that was a little bit off topic, sorry:) I think we all need to visualize oursleves how we would want to be in 5,10,20 years from now and that will make us the person we want to be. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and inspiration!
    .-= Lana-DreamFollowers Blog´s last blog ..You are NOT responsible for anything and how it can help you reach any of your goals. =-.

  9. I enjoyed this post. I often think about how a person gains the inner motivation they need in order to achieve their goals. We need that confirmation from others that everything will work out and that anything is possible when we should be able to come to those conclusions on our own. It all seems to be about envisioning the accomplishment of your goals, so when we are unable to do that on an individual level, we get a boost when someone else (a master) envisions our goals for us.
    .-= Earl´s last blog ..From Worthless Bum to Long-Jump Champion =-.

  10. The term “Master” implies someone’s control (over you).
    For some it’s God – and his representatives on Earth: the priest, the rabbi or the imam. For others it’s someone smarter or more successful than they are, who has many followers and achievements.
    And then there’s another group of people who have realized the Master is within. Which basically means You have control over You (and your possibilities are limited only by your imagination and will power.)

    Thanks for this post – it makes our hidden seeds visible to everyone 🙂
    .-= Alex Hudish´s last blog ..Oh-No!-What’s-Next?! Dialogues for the Offline =-.

  11. Hey Dragos.

    Nice information-seeking right here. You went for finding out what the master is thinking when they help the beginner, and then relating that to how we can do it to ourselves.

    There is relevant material here. You sure are right that masters don’t see every piece of potential in each beginner, but instead put some expectations and pressure on them to bring out what they have. We don’t know all the details about others, but we know that providing them a model, some extra energy, a deadline, and so on, can have a huge helping impact on their function, and they can reach a point where they are not stuck anymore.

    Interesting point about using this on ourselves.
    .-= Armen Shirvanian´s last blog ..You Don’t Know What Works Until You Fully Try =-.

  12. The imagination exercise can be connected with timeline and future pacing NLP techniques. Done with awareness and constant practice will bring certain results.

  13. I loved your post
    I usually dont feel like following all the visualisation and stuff like that they tell you to but your post makes me feel like I want to

    Also yh but I’m sure the master can see something because I just met this person who is kind of like an oracle because he reads everyone, even people he is meeting for the first time very accurately…I’m not exaggerating, he shocks me everytime =]

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