The myth of the “big break”.


We so often see people who seemingly are overnight successes and dream about how we wish we could be on of those people too.

But were they really an overnight success?

In life there are very few people who were truly a nothing one day and suddenly a worldwide phenomenon the next.

We only see the success they have had we rarely ever see the hard work and dedication they put into their craft on the path to what we see as overnight success. Most people we think of being highly successful especially in the arts  spent years decades even honing and practicing their craft before they ever found board acclaim in the world at large.

When you think of world renown acts who comes to mind? Let’s start with the Beatles. The Beatles are a great example of something that some people would call an overnight success. They seemingly swept the world with their music and became international stars really quickly, but is that really the case? Did you know that they spend years playing for 6, 8 or more hours a day playing in pubs for free or almost nothing?

How about a more recent success story. Michael Buble spent years singing in any smoke filled bar or tavern that would let him. He spent years honing and working on his craft in relative obscurity. All that time spent working on his chops and building up his abilities paid off now that he is known.

Let me introduce you to the concept of 10,000 hours. If you want to master a skill or become an “expert” in something according to Malcolm Gladwell. Now just spending 10,000 hours doing something poorly won’t make you any more than you are right now. I am also not saying that it will take you at least 10,000 hours to become good at something. There are a lot of variables that come into play. Training, natural talent, quality of practice, skill you are learning, and many other things play heavily into that number, but the concept is sound. You MUST spend time working on, honing and developing your skills in your craft to get better.

I also am not saying that there isn’t a moment of serendipity when many people who are now huge successes didn’t have. Many of them did have a chance meeting, had a video go viral or were “discovered” in some way however what if they hadn’t worked on their skills and developed their talents up to that point? Would that meeting have gone the same way it did? I don’t think so. They wouldn’t have had the skills to handle what that opportunity presented them.

At the end of the day we all have the same struggle. We all are given a finite amount of time. No one on this earth gets more than 24 hours in their day. The battle is what we spend that time on. Will you spend it on developing a skill that will take you toward your goal, or let it slip by distracted by a tv show or trending twitter topic.

Don’t wait any longer! Create something today. Set aside an hour a day or even an hour or two a week to do something you love. Create a piece of art, even if it’s not as good as you want it to be yet. Spend time learning skills that will help you improve. Take a step toward mastering your craft even if its only one hour at a time!