You Can’t Be Brilliant Every Time

Aaron McHugh

Mining for Gold (photo by Creative Commons)
Mining for Gold (photo by Creative Commons)

Everything isn’t epic.

Everything isn’t brilliant and better than the last.

We aren’t always remarkable.

Some days are simple, mundane and even average.

Yet our western culture is bannered with headlines that suggest otherwise.

I know titles sell, attract attention and shock us into investigating further.

The number of headlines that race across my screen making outlandish promises is causing me to not believe any of them.

  • 10 immediate steps to improve
  • 15 ways to be awesome
  • 3 reasons you keep failing
  • 7 simple things to fix everything

I don’t believe them.

  • Not every idea is going to work
  • Not every sale is going to close
  • Not every blog is going to have hundreds of thousands of followers
  • Not every client is going to get great results
  • Not every run is going to feel fast
  • Not every new hire is going to stay

Digging for gold

It reminds me of when you buy an entire album from your favorite band. Yeah I know most of the time we only buy the one song we love, but that feeds my example even more.

When you listen to the whole album you usually find one to maybe two songs that you really love.  The rest of them are fine, but they don’t strike a note in you like the others.

Why is that?

Why does the artist ship twelve or fourteen songs on an album when clearly only one or two are super solid?

He had to write twelve songs to find the gold one.

Were the others a waste of his time and talents?

No, instead we should consider that this is the process of extracting the art from within each of us.  In order to find the gold, you have to bust through a bunch of rocks in order to find a vein.

The artist wrote twelve songs in search of the one.

He knew immediately when he wrote it.  This one, the golden mother load, magically flowed out of him with ease.

The other twelve were just the prelude to the treasure.

I think this is how we should view our life’s work or as Pam Slim names it as our Body of Work.  Stop being eluded by the latest headline, frankly some of those writers are offering self-promotion more than substance.

Be willing to do the work, to ship your art without fear and know that every now and again you will find the gold you were looking for.

In the meantime, embrace that the other twelve versions are getting you closer each day to the brilliant one.

You are brilliant; you just need to keep digging.

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