You forgot about the chunking! That was the epiphany moment for me
I think that was something I'd already been doing. I mean, I've always been more of a legato guy and I can get around the neck well enough with slurred techniques, and for a LONG time now I've looked at scales less as six or seven string shapes, but two striung, three-note-per-string groupings that sort of interlock all across the neck, so the idea of breaking scales up into little pieces that I could move around is something that makes a lot of sense to me and is something I've been doing anyway. Picking, however... My technique has always been VERY rough. Between a week's worth of binge practicing and refining my angle a little (and I'm now moving back towards neutral, as I think I was overdoing it for a bit), things are starting to come together for me.
I think maybe that's the bigger point though, and what Troy's doing right here - there's a lot of little "parts" that add up to the complete package here. And, a lot of guys in my situation (and his situation in high school, where he could get by on EVH pentatonic speed licks), where we're not world-class talents like Gilbert or Vai or Satch, but there are a few things that we can do very well that allow us to get by, have a couple of the parts down pretty well, but very few of us have ALL of the parts needed to add up to a complete package.
There's a great passage in David Foster Wallace's "Infinite Jest" about dissecting a bunch of the characters' tennis games, actually, that probably makes a lot of sense here, where they're talking through the games of a number of the characters, and how some of them add up to a "complete game" while some of them don't. Some of their strengths are complimentary and work well with each other, others are not and leave gaping weaknesses, and one or two guys literally have no weaknesses at all.
I think things are similar as a guitarist - there's a whole bunch of things you look for in a guitarist, picking technique, sweeping technique, legato technique/fretting hand control, bending technique/control, phrasing, melodic sense/awareness, compositional ability, etc etc etc. As a guitarist, you can definitely make a career out of an incomplete list there, provided your strengths are complimentary - say, strong legato technique and strong melodic/compositional sensibilities gets you something like a Joe Satriani, even with average picking and sweeping abilities. However, I think the goal for all of us is to have a complete set of abilities, and while this is ostentatiously a picking discussion, Troy covers a lot of the other things you need to support that.