You finish your first ever day of training, and a sheet of paper magically appears from thin air. It floats gently down to lie on the floor and remains there.
Your second day the same thing happens. A second sheet of paper appears and floats gently down and lands directly on top of the first.
Each day thereafter another sheet appears and lands on top of the tiny pile. Slowly, sheet by sheet, the pile grows until, after a year, even if you have only trained on every day finishing in the letter “y”, there are 365 sheets piled on top of each other. Starting to feel substantial? Maybe. Perhaps you even have enough material there for a book.
(Incidentally, and along the same lines, ten press-ups a day – after a whole year – adds up to 3,650 press-ups).
But then you look around and see an enormous column of paper. Apparently it takes 10,000 hours to achieve mastery – so let’s say there are 10,000 sheets in this pile. That’s 27 times as big as your pile. 27 years. An hour a day. Every day.
Maybe you trained just once a week. At the end of the first year, your pile is only 52 sheets thick. That’s going to take you 192 years to get your stack up to 10,000. It might be worth checking your family tree to see if you have a lot of unusually long-lived ancestors!
But then, you see a third pile of paper sheets, surrounded by other piles all around it, some big, some small, which seem to be pushing the central pile even higher, making a broad mountain of paper sheets. With their own 10,000 sheets, plus the thousands of sheets of every student they’ve ever taught, each seen from a different perspective, explained in a different way, pushing them upwards, broadening their understanding, this pile could only be achieved by an Instructor (with a capital “I”).
When your training first starts, it will feel like there is nothing there. Nothing works, nothing feels right. But if you lay down a sheet of paper every day, at some point your pile will be thick enough, and your work will yield results. Movements start to click into place, your body starts to get it.
It might not really be your intention to become a master. It’s a very lofty ambition, and not for everyone. But lay down a sheet of paper every day, and in time your pile will have become quite respectable.
But remember, if you want a mountain of paper, instead of a column, the only way is to teach.