Nobody has ever accused me of being an overnight success but I still really enjoyed this video from Gary Vaynerchuk. In it, he describes all the work he put into becoming “an overnight success”. The years of learning and executing and making videos before things began to take off.
I recently read an interview of Christoph Waltz. A delightful interview and again, the subject of becoming an overnight success came up after having spent 30 years working as an actor before starring in his award-winning role in Inglorious Basterds.
Was he ever tempted to jack in the acting and find a new line of work? “Funnily enough, my wife did raise that point. She raised it repeatedly. Very encouragingly, she said, ‘Oh, you could do anything. You’re so talented. Why do this?’” Waltz laughs mirthlessly. “I took offence. To say the least.”
Perseverance has definitely been the key for both Vaynerchuk and Waltz. Is that all it is? Do we just keep working at it until success strikes?
It’s easy to look at the success stories and think that must be all there is to it. Yet, so many people put in the hard work and still struggle. They’ll struggle until the day they die.
In contrast, Seth Godin wrote a book called The Dip. He talks about how people persevere when they shouldn’t. “Winners quit all the time. They just quit the right stuff at the right time.”
Sometimes something is a dead-end. The trick is knowing when it’s going to be a dead-end and when a little more perseverance will pay off.
I’d like to think that I can tell a good idea from a bad one, a good app from a bad one, but as I was once told, I’m “right slightly more often than a coin toss.”
Maybe in the end it is just a matter of luck.