Small is on the Way to Big

Day 21 Week 3 Q1  Saturday, January 21, 2023

So, you want to be a famous author, composer, or filmmaker.  Or a rich, successful business person, inventor, or entrepreneur. This is obvious, but some people expect to skip the steps. You have to make $1000 on the way to a million, write a chapter on the way to a book, or compose a single piece of music on the way to an album. In fact, although there are examples of nonlinear giant steps being taken, they are the extremely rare stuff of movies. All major leaguers begin in the minor leagues. Now some work their way up very much more quickly than others. It is just not as exciting to talk about, but it generally takes years and thousands of hours to get anywhere at all. Overnight successes are hardly ever overnight.

If you are a creative outlier, not simply an opportunistic storyteller, you had better expect to be in it for the long haul.  Choose some micro-milestones to hit along the way so you can get a sense of progress and learn to derive satisfaction from small wins, as there will be many more of them than large ones, and they are on the way to the big ones. An even better strategy is to pursue what you love because there will be so many thankless hours that you will burn out before you get somewhere sustainable and significant.

If you want to be a great runner, I hope you love running. If you want to be a great musician, you had better love playing music more than talking about it. I know these may seem obvious, but expectations of the gifted are often unrealistic. Also, relationships are often more productive in the long run than projects. Yes, new relationships can derive from old projects, but it is even more likely that new projects will derive from old relationships, especially when you are on your way up. This means you had better learn how to get along with people because no matter how brilliant and talented you may be, you can not do it alone.

And while relationships tend to transcend projects, behaviors tend to transcend goals in the same way. Goal setting and goal achieving are much less correlated than goal declarations, along with behaviors consistent with achieving the goals. Almost everyone in every contest wants to win, but by definition, most do not. The ones who win are the ones who habitually do what is required over and over again.

In order to be a sustainable creator, you do have to be a creative outlier, or you will not be able to compete.  Some of your creations need to be adopted to be an innovator. It is much easier to be a creator than to be an innovator. Getting people to adopt what you have come up with requires different skills than those it took to come up with what you have come up with. 

Innovators have a much better chance of sustainably earning a living, for if no one adopts your ideas, who will pay for them? If you are a creative outlier and want to continue to create, you either need other long-term means of support or to eventually become an innovator.

That is why SVIII exists to help show how to get there.