Monday, 16 June 2014

Overnight Success Can Take A Really Long Time

Overnight success-its rarely the case
We live in a society that is obsessed with youth. We love nothing more than to hear stories of novelists who have a best selling book and three movie deal by the age of twenty one, models who are squeezing in costume fittings in Paris along with their GCSE revision or entrepreneurs who have made their first million before they are thirty.
The problem with all this worshipping at the shrine of the unwrinkled is that if you haven't quite got your shit together or despite working really hard have yet to be recognised for your talent  it can make you feel like one big failure.
Our preoccupation with age can also make us feel embarrassed about trying new things and starting again because we are supposed to have all the answers once we have reached certain age milestones.
 The suggestion that you are a bit feckless or inconsistent can often be levelled and this can be incredibly discouraging.
Well stop right now. I'm here to tell you that its not only fine to keep plugging away at a dream even if the response so far has been luke warm its actually smart. Because most overnight success stories have been a really long time in the planning.
Don't let comparisons steal your joy
When you launch a business or start a career its only human to expect you will be at the top of the tree within a year or so.When this doesn't happen its easy to think you just haven't got what it takes but often perseverance and self belief are really all that's needed.
Its also really important not to endlessly compare your progress with others. Comparison really can be the thief of joy and its also pointless. Your measure of success and what you require to feel that you have "made it" should be very specific to you. For some its the big ticket, the two page spread in the Times magazine or winning the Booker prize, for others its being able to support yourself financially (however modestly) on the back of your enterprise. Set your own bar and goals and if possible don't put a time limit on them-and NEVER put an age limit on them.Its not flighty or inconsistent to not have made a success of yourself by  a certain age and its definitely not a sign of failure to only start embarking on a new career in your thirties, forties and so on. I read somewhere that our cells are gradually rejuvenated so every seven years we have totally new ones. This could be an urban myth (any doctors out there please let me know) but this idea tickles me and basically if our bodies are all new and shiny every seven years why shouldn't our dreams and ambitions change too.

And if you don't believe me here are some of my favourite  "overnight success stories" 

JK Rowling was 34 when she published Harry Potter

Mother Teresa set up her missionaries of charity at 40

Stan Lee, created  Spider-Man at  43 

Alan Rickman Got His First Movie Role at 46

Charles Darwin published origin of the species at 50

Frank McCourt wrote Angela Ashes at 66

And if you haven't even decided what your dream is here is  a quote from the amazing Everybody's free (to wear sunscreen) by Baz Lurmann

"Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life.
The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives
Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don't"

  For more tips and advice visit my Work page

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