Thursday, 08 October 2015 00:00

Thursday's Thought: The Three Levels of Mastery

In his book "Outliers", Malcolm Gladwell describes the 10,000 hour requirement to achieve mastery over anything. From my experience of roughly 39,600 hours of playing the piano, I'd like to expand on that by describing 3 levels that I believe transform mastery into art.

Level 1: The Master

At this level, you know pretty much all there is to know about what you do. And you don't just do it "well" - you are excellent in your execution, honed by discipline, fueled with a vast repertoire of knowledge, and could teach others at the highest level.

Level 2: The Extempore

You are at the edge of your craft and start to bend the rules. Your mastery is just a tool to explore boundaries, to improvise, to take what you know and bend and rethink that knowledge in new and interesting ways.

Level 3: The Artist

There are no rules. You are on a mission to redefine everything in your craft and beyond. The creative process is a transformative one, for yourself and the world.


It should be noted that there is one critical engine required to drive this journey to mastery and beyond: passion. Without passion, you can achieve the highest level of competence, but there will be no motivation for more. Your craft becomes a job, something you do flawlessly and automatically. With passion, however, your craft becomes infused with deep purpose and intention that goes far beyond yourself.


As for me, I think I'm approaching the early stages of becoming an Extempore, but I dream of what it might be like to be a true Artist. 


What about you?

Read 2295 times Last modified on Thursday, 08 October 2015 07:08

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