The Master Mind: Introductory Chapter to The Law of Success in 16 Lessons

The Master Mind –Don’t do it alone

Hill defines a Master Mind as: 

…a mind that is developed through the harmonious co-operation [sic] of two or more people who ally themselves for the purpose of accomplishing any given task

Before we go on, I think it’s important to call out something Hill neglects in the book. In his definition of Master Mind, he’s talking about the concept of a Team. A Team is 

A group of two or more people that have come together for a specific purpose.

Hill’s unstated assumption is that a team of people working together to achieve a goal is more likely to succeed than any individual working alone. I think the truth of that statement is self-evident. The team itself is not the Master Mind. The Master Mind is the collective intelligence that emerges as members interact with each other. This intelligence can be steered and directed towards helping each member of the team achieve his or her goals.  Sometimes the team could all be working on the same goal, as is the case with a sports team. Other times the team could be a group of sales people who are all trying to sell the same thing or for the same company. In both cases, the team members benefit from giving each other feedback, dividing up work load, keeping each other accountable and encouraging each other on. What’s more, the interaction between like-minded individuals in the spirit of cooperation can produce thoughts and interpretations that are more than any one person would have come up with on their own.

The two key points of the lesson on the Master Mind are: 1) you will achieve more if you ally yourself with other people, and 2) this alliance must be in the spirit of harmonious cooperation.  Getting a group of people together is futile if there’s no harmony or cooperation.

As actuaries many of us have experienced a Master Mind.  My first experiences with a Master Mind came in the form of study groups. We would meet up some days before work or on the weekends to sit near each other and study for our next actuarial exam. Sometimes I studied alongside people who were sitting for the same exam, sometimes not. I found studying alongside other was comforting, empowering and encouraging. 

I’ve also worked on teams where the outcomes we achieved far surpassed anything we would have been able to achieve on our own. Something special happens when you get a few smart people in a room and openly discuss the best way to tackle a problem. But this only happens when there’s true harmony and cooperation. A great resource on how to build a high functioning team is the book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni

In my experience there are a few things that make a Master Mind group successful.

  1. The Master Mind group must have a clear purpose that every member is committed to. 
  2. The Master Mind group needs to meet on a regular basis. This might be daily, weekly or monthly, depending on the goal and rhythms of the milestones. 
  3. I think a Master Mind group works best in person, but recent events with the COVID-19 pandemic have shown us that virtual proximity can work. This is especially true if you’ve defined the purpose of the group so narrow that you can’t find members committed to it nearby.
  4. The actual form of the master mind group doesn’t have to be formal. Free-form exchange of challenges and ideas can be enough to unlock the power of the Master Mind.
  5. You get the most out of it when you join with the intention of giving, not getting.

The topic of the Master Mind is one of the author’s most famous concepts. There is a thriving community of people that participate in Master Mind groups that provide a place to learn and grow with other like-minded professionals.