Quote of the Day – Daniel H. Pink, “Mastery is a Mindset”

Daniel H. Pink

“Mastery is a mindset: It requires the capacity to see your abilities not as finite, but as infinitely improvable.”

- Daniel H. Pink, Drive


In his book Drive, Daniel H. Pink explores our historical understanding of what motivates us, both in our personal lives and our business lives.  His conclusion is that previous methods of motivation, such as pay raises based on performance or penalties for lack of performance, are no longer sufficient.

He suggests a new method based on intrinsic motivation.  There are 3 elements to this new method of motivation:  Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose.

Of these three, his quotes on mastery recently struck me as a key to attaining your goals in life, so I wanted to highlight one (or a few) of them.  Today’s quote is one of Pink’s “Three Laws of Mastery”:  Mastery is a Mindset.  The mastery of a given task or ability requires a particular mindset – a mindset that your abilities are improvable… infinitely improvable.

If you have the mindset that your abilities are finite or if you have the mindset that your intelligence is finite – you will never progress far down the path of mastery, regardless of what you attempt.

However, if you believe that your knowledge and abilities can be improved, incrementally and continuously, via practice and effort THEN you will achieve far more.  Why?  Because you can no longer fall back on your “limited” abilities as an excuse.

“I’m just not smart enough” becomes “I have not learned enough yet.”

“I’m just not fast enough” becomes “I am not fast enough yet.”

“I’m not talented enough” becomes “I have not practiced enough yet.”

So remember today as you go about your work – mastery is a mindset!  The first step in achieving mastery of any one thing is to change how you think about your own abilities!


  1. [...] to Daniel Pink and his thoughts on Mastery!  In the previous quotes on mastery (Mastery is a Mindset, Realizing Mastery), I discussed Daniel H. Pink’s basic thoughts on mastery and how this [...]

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