They talk about the 10,000 hours it takes to master something — a musical instrument, a language, a trade skill, a sport, etc. It is something I have experienced, in my own way, and have perhaps gleaned some useful insights.
What we may get through an organized training system or educational institution, is a fairly predictable process, and certain expectations of results. Over a set term, the program and its instructors guide us through rudiments to an established accreditation or certification. We are focused, loaded with exercises and practice, and shaped into what we aspired to become.
Now, if we don’t go through the formal education route, we employ the autodidact method; we self-teach, self-examine, and self-motivate. We also generally rate, grade, criticize and chastise and berate our efforts. This is either liberating or quietly hindering us.
We are our own worst, often vicious critics. As artists, it’s probably ten-fold.
When you’re in a school of your peers, you get constant outward validation, critique, and influence. If you’re going about something wrong, there’s immediate instruction on the better or preferred ways. This is arguably important, so as to avoid picking up bad habits, as it were. Useful as well if you intend to perform within the boundaries of the road taken by many before. It depends on what you want, be it a career, predictable opportunities, etc.
When you take the independent route, there are no predictable opportunities, no set career options, and the skills you develop are of and by your own efforts. You’re free to do it how and when you like and limited by only your imagination. Excellent, surely. Perhaps . . . in our safe spaces and hidden from the world. But, in our society of competition and commerce, not so much.
The whole idea of “making a living” is rife with negative correlations. Our confidence in our creative capacities, our abilities to produce, our self-certification all comes into question when we dare to venture into the “real world”. We observe how others in our field are succeeding, what’s selling, what’s popular, and what’s acceptable. Thus, we may be very quick to judge ourselves most unworthy of not only recognition but of support and marketability.
The trick is to be open to unpredictable and unique or unexpected ways for life to support us. If there was excitement, engagement, pure passion and endless experiment and exploration — as you dove into countless hours of developing your craft — that’s founded in the energy of potentiality that also benefits and resonates with the receivers, supporters, buyers, fans, and clients of who you are, and what you do.
Nowadays, you can learn nearly anything you want, where and how you want to. The same issues apply: can we motivate ourselves, and can we trust ourselves and allow our efforts to be good enough? We are free to be, do, and have whatever is relevant for us. We have to trust the feelings of life and what shows up. We have to be easy on ourselves. We have to be open and curious. No one is living our story, and no one offers the world who and what we are.
You be you, beautiful. Thank you for your courage and vulnerability. Thank you for your authenticity, and your love for your art, how you see things, and how you gift us your real self.
Love your life