The journey of the expert born from 10,000 hours of deliberate is an intoxicating story for creators. It’s the most compelling story we can tell about our craft and passion: a person with a singular desire battling himself to become the best at what he does.
But what makes a good story isn’t helpful advice. I do think there are those who knew what they wanted to do from when they were younger and made their way to mastery, but they are rare (which is also why it makes for a good story).
What’s more familiar and closer to our shared experience is that our creative journey is 10,000 hours of travel down a winding road. We start in one direction, make a sharp turn to the left, hairpin turn back to where we started, before going straight again. Nothing makes sense while we move forward. It’s only in looking back we realize why there had to be all those turns.
Rather than hoping we spent our time better or wish we were on another road completely, we can own the experiences those detours have given us.
Our unique contribution isn’t one thing, but usually a blend and overlap of many things unique to us. I think of it more as a convergence than something singular.
There will come a point in the journey when it all “makes sense.” We’ll see threads connecting our gifts, interests, and convictions. When we start to bring those threads together, we’ll notice we see certain things differently than other people.
Wondering why “not everyone thinks the way you do” is the precursor to it all making sense. It’s the moment right before we finally trust ourselves and realize our expression of an idea is unique and valuable because it’s coming from us.
When we think about the meaningful work we want to do, we often look outside ourselves to something we haven’t attained. We want to think there’s something missing rather than it being an alchemy of who we are.
Once we share and ship our thoughts, we give the opportunity for people to find value from it. We make a change, a contribution for the better.