Tuesday, January 07, 2014

It's Only a Matter of Time

Time is the great thickener of things.

When it comes to your art, time is the strongest agent for making your work robust enough to find its audience and make a difference. More than talent, more than connections, more than money, more than anything, time is the invisible hand that always has your back.

Because no matter how many romantic stories you hear about innovators and artists and computer geniuses who found success early and often, the reality is, that’s rarely the case.

Colonial Sanders didn’t come up with his secret recipe until he was fifty. Momofuku didn’t create instant ramen until he was sixty. Roget didn’t invent the thesaurus until he was seventy. Darwin didn’t publish his theory of evolution until he was fifty. Dostoyevsky didn’t write his greatest novel until he was sixty.

And those guys were in the top one percent of one percent.

For us normies, it will probably be a long time before what we do catches on.

But in the interim, we can hustle while we wait. And we can respect and leverage time in several strategic ways:

From a mindset perspective, we believe there is something waiting for us and trust our ability to sit down and respond to something.

From a mundane perspective, we fall in love with the unsexy reality of our work, achieving greatness by doing what is repetitive and dull.

From a movement perspective, it’s about finding ways to stay in the game so you can outlive the critics and still be around when the world is ready for you.

From a momentum perspective, we build an undeniable body of work that grows stronger, brick by brick, and know that we’re better because it took longer.

From a moxie perspective, we keep our hand raised until it’s our turn, and then say yes when luck finds us.

From a motivation perspective, we chase inspiration until it gets winded enough for us to catch it, and don’t let it leave until we pick its pocket.

And the good news is, when we combine the mindset, the mundane, the movement, the momentum, the moxie and the motivation, whatever art we feel called to create, whatever dreams we feel compelled to follow, and whatever change we feel commissioned to make, one thing’s for sure.

It’s only a matter of time.