Ideal apprenticeship Copy

Topic time estimate: 5 Minutes

Excellent Change leaders cultivate curiosity about learning new things and growing through the process of trial and error.

According to Robert Greene, the author of the book Mastery, you enter a phase of apprenticeship on the road to mastery after your formal education, and every time you change careers or learn new skills.

This phase includes 3 steps:

  1. Deep observation (passive mode)
  2. Skill acquisition (practice mode)
  3. Experimentation (active mode)

Inspired by Greene’s book we use the following six principles to an ideal apprenticeship to inspire life-long learning and a learning culture:

1st Principle: Revert To A Feeling Of Inferiority

  • Foster your inner child.
  • Be hungry to learn and absorb as much as possible.

2nd Principle: Move Towards Resistance And Pain

  • If you focus on things you are already capable of doing, you limit your skillset.
  • In resistance practice, you train yourselves to push the opposite way of your natural preferences and work on your weaknesses.

3rd Principle: Apprentice Yourself in Failure

  • Repeat failure is a means of education.
  • Failing will toughen you and show you with absolute clarity how things must be done.

4th Principle: Advance Yourself Through Trial And Error

  • Try out different paths and adopt new skills, avoid following a fixed career path.
  • You are not wandering because you lack commitment, but because you are expanding your skill set and possibilities.

5th Principle: Learning Before Earning

  • Choose the path that provides most opportunities to learn.
  • Surround yourself with mentors rather than large payslips.

6th Principle: Keep Expanding Your Horizon

  • Whenever you settle somewhere, force yourself to shake things up and look for new challenges.
  • Be relentless in your pursuit to expand your horizon and mingle with many different people.


After you have read the principles, take a minute to reflect which principles are used in your organisation and write your thoughts in the notes section on page 7 of your workbook.

Go ahead and complete the poll on how your organisation uses the 6 principles with the EXCELerate community.

Then check out the results across the EXCELerate community.

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