The other day, I was listening to Aisha Tyler’s podcast, Girl on Guy. Her guest was John Cho; if you don’t know him by name, he’s Harold from the Harold and Kumar movies. From a Hollywood perspective, they discussed how so many people move to LA with hopes of becoming the next [insert A-List celebrity]. But there’s no rule book or template on how to get “there”.
Bringing it down to a realistic level, people will watch someone more successful than them and wonder “why isn’t it my turn? Why can’t I get all of those same opportunities? What am I doing wrong?”. A lot of times, “getting there” comes down to execution.
I think it’s natural to look at someone who is where you want to be and try to match, then surpass their hustle. For many writers, the ultimate goal is to two-fold. You want your writing to either educate or entertain. And you also want to get paid for the hard work you put into it. In 2014, nobody’s doing anything new or original. People are just taking ideas or concepts and fine-tuning them in hopes of reaching a new audience. Here’s the thing though – people who were once fans leaving comments and discussing become the competitors. It’s the circle of life in this digital world.
Not everybody can write though. We have now podcasters and people who dedicate every free moment to building up a Youtube following. In general, we’ve become inundated with content and its creators; much like the music community. Everybody’s a critic. Everybody’s trying to get on. With that over-saturation, you’re forced to be 10 times better than the person you’ve been supporting for the last X amount of years.
Lots of people have great ideas. Not everybody knows how to efficiently execute their ideas though. As I’ve quietly watched people I support segueway into other ventures, I realize that the difference between an idea being a success or failure is the ability for you to create your lane and stay in it.
It’s hard to stay focused on the execution of a great hustle when you’re so busy trying to be better than your idea’s predecessor. I’ll use Facebook as an example. When it first came out, it was solely for college students. Its initial elitist undertone rivaled Myspace and other sites in the social networking vein. I read The Accidental Billionaires and saw The Social Network. What gave Facebook such an edge over other social networking sites is its slow roll-out made people excited to be a part of it. Zuckerberg used his talent, took a simple idea, and executed it to a point where it literally changed an era. However, if you think about it, Facebook wasn’t doing anything different in its big-picture purpose. The creators just capitalized on a specific niche and the ripple effect has evolved into something far greater a decade in.
I talk about personal success a lot. Being in my 30s, my journey towards success is ongoing. People see the rewards of others’ hard work in the field and somehow convince themselves that they need that same validation. If money and notoriety are the rewards you’re seeking, you’ll probably continue to miss the mark. Aisha Tyler said something that hit close to home:
If you love what you do, then know that enjoyment might be the only compensation you’ll get
I enjoy being a writer. I like being able to sit down and write a cohesive, dope post that readers relate enough to that they share or leave a comment. I don’t do this for money. I never will. There are things I wish I was better at. But I know my lane. I’m comfortable in it.
There’s enough money and opportunities out here for everybody who’s serious to successfully pursue their passion. Although sometimes, you are your own anchor. So the next time you see someone getting shine that you believe you deserve, pause and ask yourself this question: have you truly given it all to get it all?
Honesty will always humble you.