Leonardo Da Vinci's Unspoken Secret To Perfecting Your Craft

2014 Jun 02, 2014

What is the secret to greatness? What is the common thread among all the world’s best musicians, engineers, songwriters, and producers?

You’d be surprised to know that it isn’t raw talent or connections to high profile people (although those certainly help).

It’s much simpler than that.


Via MAMJODH Flickr

We’re Blind To The Long Game

Ironically in our obsession with the instant, the immediate, and the overnight success we have become blind to the many long years of disappointment, difficulty, and struggle that all the greats went through.

No one embodies this painful process of playing the “long game” better than potentially one of the word’s greatest artists of all time: Leonardo Da Vinci.

I recently came across this brief two-part video essay by the talented British filmmaker Adam Westbrook and it was mind blowing and perspective shifting. If you do nothing else today, watch both videos.

Turns out, it took Da Vinci 17 long years of fruitless work until you got his “big break”. And all the while he was pumping out piece after piece after piece.

This can totally apply to our work in the studio. It really takes years to get undeniably good at the craft of recording and mixing. But we’ve somehow turned a blind eye to that truth.

These days we’re in such a hurry and I wonder if we’ve created a dangerous blind spot in our approach to creativity.

It’s funny how no one wants to talk about these “difficult year” as Adam calls them. Because they aren’t exciting and inspiring.

But ironically I find them the MOST inspiring of all. Those painful years of “getting no where” that all of the world’s best went experienced make me want to work even harder and keep pushing forward.

This celebration of youth, coupled with technology, has distorted our perception of time — the world moves faster, and so do our expectations. Today, we want success in seventeen levels, or seventeen minutes, seventeen seconds — and when the promise of something new and better is just a click away, who wants to wait seventeen years? But that’s the thing that connects all of these great people — they played the long game.

All of us have the brain, and the talent, and the creativity to join them. But now, right when it matters, do any of us have the patience?

Will You Play The Long Game?

What about you? Will you play the long game to perfecting your craft? Will you commit to having the patience and dedication it takes to get really good at this?

Share your thoughts below. Maybe we can inspire one another to greater things, to hanging in there, to having the grit to get good.

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