Let me start by saying I'm not endorsing a life of sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll. Well... let's say I don't endorse one of the three.
That said, I've been inspired by the book Outliers
and its 10,000 hour rule. Basically excellence isn't an accident. It takes a convergence of many "right" things happening before a Bill Gates becomes a software giant, and The Beatles rock a generation.
The following was not found in Outliers. It was in The Wall Street Journal. And for you golfers out there, you may appreciate the working paradigm.
This is about Kieth Richards.
One of the chief liabilities of being a golf obsessive is that you find a connection to the game in almost everything you do, see or read. Take Keith Richards's autobiography, "Life," for example. It's a juicy tell-all about sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll, especially dishy about his complicated relationship with fellow Rolling Stone Mick Jagger. But for me the most satisfying portions of the book dealt with Richards's pains to learn and master the guitar. Why? Because it read so much like the journey that master golfers make.
Drug-addled reprobate that he admits to being, Richards makes a forceful case that would-be guitarists need to devote themselves first to the good old-fashioned fundamentals of the acoustic guitar. "Don't think you're going to be Townshend or Hendrix just because you can go wee wee wah wah, and all the electronic tricks of the trade," he wrote.
Fred Couples says when he doesn't think too much, 'everything gets very simple.' Keith Richards says: 'Feel your way around it.'
He devoted years of surprisingly diligent effort to figuring out how the great blues masters played the key chords they did, then years to finding his own sound. The parallels to the stories Ben Hogan and Lee Trevino tell about finding their own swings is striking.
But what impressed me most was how Richards, once he owned the guitar technically, felt free to give himself over to instinct. In the end, he wrote, "There is no 'properly.' There's just how you feel about it. Feel your way around it." The key to developing some of his most famous, later-career riffs, in songs like "Jumpin' Jack Flash" and "Gimme Shelter," was realizing that "there is often one note doing something that makes the whole thing work."