The Surgeon’s Surgeon

Amar Pandit , CFA , CFP

Amar Pandit

A respected entrepreneur with 25+ years of Experience, Amar Pandit is the Founder of several companies that are making a Happy difference in the lives of people. He is currently the Founder of Happyness Factory, a world-class online investment & goal-based financial planning platform through which he aims to help every Indian family save and invest wisely. He is very passionate about spreading financial literacy and is the author of 4 bestselling books (+ 2 more to release in 2020), 8 Sketch Books, Board Game and 700 + columns.

Does the headline seem a bit odd to you?

Even if it does, stay with me. There is something insightful coming your way.

But first, let me ask you a question that I have asked many professionals.

What is the best goal for you (as a professional)?

Take your time.

Any Guesses.

Try answering it.

Ok. Here it goes.

Derek Sivers, Author of “How to Live”, wrote it best.

“Mastery is the best goal because the rich can’t buy it, the impatient can’t rush it, the privileged can’t inherit it and nobody can’t steal it.”

Isn’t this simply powerful?

Read the line again and reflect on it.

If no one can buy, rush, inherit or steal it, isn’t mastery a huge source of competitive advantage for someone who masters her/his craft?

Derek adds further, “The more you learn about something, the more there is to learn. You see what normal people don’t see. The pursuit of mastery helps you to think long-term. It keeps your eyes on the horizon. You resist the temptation of what you want now. You remember the importance of what you want most. You spend time intentionally.”

Needless to say, mastery is indeed the best goal for any professional. Sadly, in our profession/industry (and it’s true in other professions/industries too), we confuse this with fame and status.

• “I was on television the other day,” said one gentleman to me.

• “I have a radio show every week,” said another.

• “I have got 100000+ followers on Twitter”, said a third.

• “I am the Director of this Association. There are so many people who listen to me. I am an influencer.”

• “I have 100000+ page views every day.”

The above lines have nothing to do with mastery if you get what I am saying.

But still we get sucked into this game of fame and status.

In his wonderful post “Pursue Mastery, Not Status”, Lawrence Yeo wrote, The trickiest thing about status games is that people don’t like to acknowledge when they are playing them. Or even worse, they don’t realize they are playing them.

Mastery on the other hand is the quest to improve yourself as an end in itself. Comparisons are not made with other people, but only with prior versions of yourself. You are not trying to become a better writer, musician etc. to improve your standing amongst others. Rather you are doing it to prove yourself that you can exercise your potential by contributing everything you can to actualize that untapped resource.”

This is exactly what I have followed from day one. It didn’t matter whether someone knew me. It didn’t matter whether I was the president of some association or that my books were bestsellers. My focus was clear – to be the best at what I did. Not just here. But globally.

For that, I had to intentionally focus on mastery. Every day no matter what, I practice. Even to this day, I follow this rhythm of practice and mastery in everything I do. For example, next month, I will be completing 3 years of writing the happyrichadvisor blog. And I have written every single Tuesday and Friday besides writing every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. To do this, I needed a ritual, not inspiration.

“Your practice ritual is your highest priority – an unbreakable commitment. Stubbornly protect this time against the demands of the world. Once you get momentum, never stop. It’s easy to continue, but if you stop, it’s hard to start again. Never miss a day.” If you do, start the next day immediately.

This deep focus on practicing and mastering my craft has held me in good stead thanks to the paradox of mastery. As Lawrence adds in his post – If you earnestly hold yourself to a high standard, you won’t be in a situation where you think you are on the right path while no one cares about what you are doing. The paradox of mastery is that even if you could care less about status, people will find their way to you since mastery is a gravitational force, which will give you status in turn.

Amazing people have found me because of the work I did. Amazing financial professionals continue to reach out to us every day. People globally have appreciated the world class work we have done. There are so many firsts to our credit but that is the subject for another day.

Aren’t you thinking this – Wasn’t this post about the Surgeon’s Surgeon? What happened to that?

I promise I have not forgotten about it. I was just building up the case for the Surgeon’s Surgeon.

In his book “The Patient’s Playbook”, Leslie Michelson wrote, “I see a lot of mistakes,” says Doctor. Robert Udelsman, an expert in endocrine oncology and surgery (and surgeon-in-chief) at Yale-New Haven Hospital in Connecticut. In fact, 20 percent of Doctor Udelsman’s practice is revision surgery- meaning he fixes other doctor’s mistakes. He’s like the surgeon’s surgeon, the clean-up guy who knows everybody else’s operation notes, their handiwork, their sutures.

Masters are like that. They are the surgeon’s surgeon. They are the best. And they commit their life to mastery and excellence.

I have committed mine. So, do all of us at our firm because we truly love what we do and the difference we are making in your life. We believe with our heart, mind and soul in Mokokoma Mokhonoana’s words – “Though you can love what you do not master, you cannot master what you do not love.”

What about you?

Are you committed to mastery and excellence too?