Whether you want to start a blog, write a best-seller or launch a new business venture, success in any kind of creative endeavour depends on some common factors. Understand and accept those factors and your chances of hitting the jackpot will be multiplied.
1: Success is what you say it is.
If getting to number one on the N.Y. Times best-seller list makes you happy, great. If writing a blog that 100 people follow passionately makes you happy that's what success is for you. It's your brain, your heart, your life - don't let anybody hijack it with their definition of success.
2: Success can take one year or one hundred years
J. K. Rowling got there fast. Van Gogh didn't. Even finding those one hundred passionate followers can take time. Don't define the journey only by the outcome.
3: Fewer than 1% of people have to buy what you do.
Not everybody wants to profit financially from their creative activity, but if you do, think about this. If just one per cent of the people in the United States - one person out of a hundred - buys what you offer, you'll have more than three million sales. One out of hundred in the UK is 600,000 people. Even one of out a thousand is plenty. If you happen to live in China, you're really in luck!
4: Start by finding one person who likes what you do
It helps to have a champion, somebody who believes in you. Your belief in yourself generates one unit of self-belief. You plus a champion generates 100. (Psychology math is different.)
5: Crazy is the first step
Every breakthrough is considered a crackpot idea at first. Of course, some ARE crackpot ideas. You can't tell the difference until you transform the idea into something real and get it out into the world.
6: Ready, fire, aim
Most creative people want their work to be seen. However, many never take their ideas out into the world because they want to be sure it's the right time and that they have all the resources they need. It will never be the exactly the right time and you may never have ALL the resources you need. Get a prototype out there, see what happens, adjust, and persist.
7: The second best time to start
The best time to start doing your creative work is twenty years ago. Look at the clock. What time is it? That's right, it's the second-best time to start.
8: If at first you don't succeed, don't try, try again
At least don't try the same damn thing again and again. Hit yourself on the head with a hammer (you may imagine this instead of doing it if you prefer). How did it feel? Do you think it will feel any different if you do it again? If you do, go ahead. If at first you don't succeed, try something different. Continue until you find the one that works.
9: Failing feels crappy
Motivational speakers make it sound like failing is noble. Maybe it is, but it sure doesn't FEEL noble.
They say Edison said 'I didn't fail 300 times to find a workable light bulb filament, I took 300 steps toward success.' I bet around the 200th try he threw that bulb to the ground, stomped on it, took a stiff drink and yelled at his wife. Yeah, we have to deal with disappointing results and rejection, but we won't like it.
10: The only way to actually fail
You can fail only if you stop. If on the last day of your life you still aren't on the N.Y. Times best-seller list or your blog has only 99 passionate followers, so what? If you believed in what you were doing you probably had a hell of a ride. That's what it's all about.
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