Great before mastery?

Can you produce something great before you have mastered that skill or art?

  • Could you play a great game of tennis—by luck, talent, effort—before mastering tennis?
  • Could you compose a great song—by natural gift, effort, passion, fluke—before mastering music?

I would argue: No.

Those simple factors: natural gift, effort, passion, will, luck can produce something “better”—better than what the next person, or last person did; better than your last product. But those simple factors cannot produce “great”.

Greatness requires an exhaustive study of the principles of tennis, art, story, music.

At some point in your journey, this fact will be discouraging. Later, however, when your work begins to stand out, it will be freeing and as it should be.


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