As a young boy growing up in North Carolina, John Coltrane felt different and strange. He was much more serious than his schoolmates; he experienced emotional and spiritual longings he did not know how to verbalize. He drifted into music more as a hobby, taking up the saxophone and playing in his high school band. Then a few years later he saw the great jazz saxophonist Charlie “Bird” Parker perform live, and the sounds Parker produced touched Coltrane to the core. Something primal and personal came through Parker’s saxophone, a voice from deep within. Coltrane suddenly saw the means for expressing his uniqueness and giving a voice to his own spiritual longings. He began to practice the instrument with such intensity that within a decade he transformed himself into perhaps the greatest jazz artist of his era. You must understand the following: In order to master a field, you must love the subject and feel a profound connection to it. Your interest must transcend the field and border on the religious. For Coltrane, it was not music but giving voice to powerful emotions.
Daily Law: Are there people whose work affects you in a powerful way? Analyze this and use them as models.
Mastery, I: Discover Your Calling—The Life’s Task