A friend of mine gave me Eric Clapton’s new CD, Complete Clapton. When she handed it to me, I thought to myself, "here is one man’s life work." Amazing. The years of mastery all contained in a box CD set. Of course, it’s not all contained there, but it is surely representative of greatness.

Eric Clapton will undoubtedly go down as one of the greatest guitar players of all time. His skills are unrivaled and he has become the standard by which other great guitarists measure themselves. When I think of Clapton, I think of mastery and all that is found in that idea.

For me, the simplest definition of mastery is taking a long walk in the same direction. O sure, the sheer magnitude of one’s gift plays an important part in mastery. But nothing can replace a focused intention developed over many years of practice and development. Clapton’s CD is a manifestation of a long walk.

So what are you becoming a "master" at in your life?

Mastery is an important quality for all of us because first, it  creates expertise (in an area), and second, it ties our work together with an overarching theme. When we look back on our life and our work, we can hold it in our hands like Clapton’s CD.

One practice that is critical to the development of mastery is focus. In a day and age when options and choices seem endless, focus is a rare commodity. Focus is the path to mastery because it continuously turns our wills back to the discipline needed to become great. It also challenges us to stay with something long enough to enjoy the benefits of the hard work.

Since focus is so critical to mastery, here are a ways to cultivate focus:

    * Exercise (and don’t stop until your allotted time is up)
    * Read a novel (to the end)
    * Stay with your current task 20 minutes longer than you think you can
    * Look into the eyes of someone you love