So all this talk about mastery didn’t necessarily start this year; I still remember stepping into Susan’s class sophomore year and her telling us that at least 10,000 hours are required to be a “master” at something. I did a bunch of different calculations just for mere curiosity (Intrinsic motivation at its best!). But, all this talk of “mastery” resurfaces in Pink’s book. He says “mastery” is a very tough thing to achieve with lots of hard work and dedication required for it to happen. What I want to do is to emphasize just how hard that road can sometimes be, with nothing else than examples from musicians (Oh yay! Otilio’s talking about guitars again). The first musician I wanted to mention was Tom Morello (a celebrated guitarist), who started practicing the guitar avidly when he was studying at Harvard. He practiced for 8 hours a day everyday (coincidentally, according to Susan’s 10,000 hour idea 8 hours a day means “mastery” in 3.5 years). Well Tom Morello graduated from Harvard with a bachelor in Political Science; however he soon became a male stripper shortly after moving to Los Angeles in order to support himself. Since then however he has done numerous thing including working with Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave, pursuing a solo career as the “Night watchman”, and his new band Street Sweeper Social Club (he was also included as a character in Guitar Hero 3).
The next person I’d like to mention worked with either Marilyn Manson or White Zombie, maybe even both (frankly I can’t remember). But I do remember the words he said, he spoke to Guitar World magazine about his experience as a struggling guitarist trying to “make it”. He spoke of his living conditions, he lived in a cramped small New York apartment filled with cock roaches and working dead end jobs on the side; he also said that anyone should expect to live like this for at least five years before the band they play in gets truly recognized. Anyways, the point is that “mastery” really is a tough thing to accomplish, and the road leading to it is definitely not something that should be taken lightly.