During my time in the educational system I have often questioned what it took to become so proficient at a skill to become a master, a leader of accomplishment. It's a simple question with complicated answers. For example, if I want to become a great pianist, am I just born with these aptitudes or over time, practice, and frustrations; does it just happen?
That's just one example. Another, more personal, example is a mastery of the STEM field of research. (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) For many, including myself, we've gone through years of strife, hard work, and a bit of luck to reach where we are. Same goes for any artist of their given profession.
Many authors have founded careers around thinking about "What makes/made the great, great?" One such person, Malcolm Gladwell, has made it his career to answer these questions and more. He has written a plethora of books pertaining to our assumptions of the human psyche the interesting results of our research into how it is composed. Although I have only read the obvious one, Blink, I'm very interested in making Outliers my next good read. I highly recommend you pick up one of his many books, very thought provoking.
It turns out there's a slew of books looking at "how to be innovative", "how to become a master of a craft or art", and even "what is at the core of what makes someone at that level?" One such author has recently released his take on the idea of mastery, Robert Greene. You may remember him from his popular book, The Art of Seduction.
In his most recent book, Mastery, Greene takes this idea and relates them to previous savants throughout history and looks at "Mastery synthesizes". Again, I have not yet picked up a copy for myself but based on the various synopsis of the book, he looks at people of extraordinary caliber and attempts to dissect what makes a person a master. He covers such artists as Charles Darwin, Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein, and the great, Leonard Da Vinci. Just to name a few. This will most likely be a new addition to my library.
With so many possibilities and guides on how to be a master, how to be great, the question arises, "where's my specific niche, how can I aid the world?" This is a daunting question and one that I have no answer to.
Despite having no clue where we are going or how we will get there, I feel that we will all be okay. I know this is a rather lowly response to the aforementioned questions, and for this I apologize.
Eventually I trust we will be content if nothing else. As for being a master at what you do; practice, fail, learn, repeat.
"develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success."
~~Dale Carnegie. (Author, How to Win Friends and Influence People.)