How To Be An Overnight Success

Here’s your Friday thought:
Expertise can be yours with a simple 10,000 hour investment.

We writers–high-school students to showrunners to Nobel Laureate novelists–certainly know a few things when it comes to creating stories. We make people laugh, we make them cry, and–if we’re lucky– our audience claims our stories as a part of them forever.

Even that phenomenal success does not necessarily mean we may claim the title of “expert”…not in its truest sense, anyway (for there is much room in our culture for casual use of the idea). It doesn’t mean we know all there is to know about our art, our craft. Today’s post is a reminder to seek out that which we DO NOT know in our work and learn more about it. Today. Do it. Just one thing.

Want to know how to become an overnight success? Sure, there are people who, every minute, land in New York, London, and Hollywood’s eager laps and get swooped up into the publicity machine to be lauded as fantastic! A spectacular spectacular! And surely they are all of those things…but perhaps “dazzling” isn’t an all-encompassing definition of success nor expertise.

You need a particular kind of practice— deliberate practice —to develop expertise. When most people practice, they focus on things they already know how to do. Deliberate practice is different. It entails considerable, specific, and sustained efforts to do something you can’t do well—or even at all. Research across domains shows that it is only by working at what you can’t do that you turn into the expert you want to become.

So whoever you are, whatever your accomplishments, keep working. Stay curious. And remember that you will always have learned more than someone else and there is always someone who has learned more than you do. And that’s a great thing.


For more on the subject, check these out online or at your local library:

The Expert on Experts by Christopher Percy Collier at Fast Company
Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
The New York Times talks with Roger Moore (a podcast direct link)

And a tiny url for your sharing pleasure: http://tinyurl.com/bt7q3sz

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