I mentioned in my previous post that I’m signed up with a company called Fizzle that provides small business training and courses. In one of the courses they mention a quote from Steven Pressfield, author of The War of Art (a great read) and many more, including The Legend of Baggar Vance, about how 10,000 hours are required to gain mastery in any given skill.
Pressfield asks, “What exactly are we learning when we’re beating our brains out all those years? What was Charles Bukowski learning while he was boozing and wenching and sorting mail at the P.O.? What was Henry Miller accomplishing in Brooklyn and Paris?”
His answer: “What these masters were learning was to speak in their own voice. They were learning to act as themselves. In my opinion, this is the hardest thing in the world.”
(The full blog post from Pressfield is here.)
I love this idea and it really made me think. When you are putting in the 10,000 hours, you are learning to speak in your own voice and sculpt yourself accordingly, so that you may engage in your craft in a true and authentic way. When you do that, you can have the proper effect on people that you and your craft are supposed to have.
Take, for example, Michelangelo's David. It is one of the most beautiful sculptures in the world and has the effect it has on us because Michelangelo sculpted it with care, time, craft, heart and soul. Michelangelo was a master of his craft, and therefore his work had the proper effect on us. When you put in that 10,000 hours (or however many are needed) to become your true self through your work, then you and your work can have the right effect that you're supposed to have on people, and that's where the real fun begins, where the real conversations take place, and where the real work happens making a difference.
The song “10,000 Hours” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis is another great testament to the time and effort needed to do the work. It's by far one of my favourite songs.