I’ve written about learning before, but in musing about the ‘mastery’ of a skill or profession, something came back to me. It was something that I heard in the days when I was heavily into music production, desperately trying to get ‘that sound’. A wise old professional at the time said to me “there are three steps to mastery.”
1. Know the rules
In the first stage you learn the rules. You learn what works and what doesn’t. Discovering when to apply certain techniques and processes.
2. Know when to break the rules
In the second stage you learn when to break those sames rules. As a musician, you learn when to do something that shouldn’t work, but does. As a photographer, you know to ignore a certain general rule about lighting in a specific situation. And so it goes on. You reach a level of experience that means you don’t just know the rules, you know the exceptions to the rules.
3. Make the rules
In the final stage, you make the rules. You create exceptional new techniques that others then follow. This is when you have become a master.
Be a Master!
With dedication and determination you can be a master. Study the leaders, see how they do it – learn their tricks. Then apply your own individual character to create unique ways of doing things. Eventually you’ll be the one that others are studying.