On the Remarkably Long Road to the RemarkableJune 29th, 2012 · 25 comments
If At First You Don’t Succeed…
Here’s John McPhee reflecting on his path to The New Yorker: “I had been continually rejected…until I was in my thirties.”
He’s not alone in fostering patience for this particular goal.
In Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell notes that it took him ten years of training at The Washington Post before he made it to the The New Yorker. Jonah Lehrer had seven years of dues paying between his first book deal, inked as he left his Rhodes Scholarship, and earning his own staff spot.
I like these examples because they remind of a simple truth: remarkable careers take a remarkably large amount of training. If I’m not relentless in my focus, they tell me, I should not count on a life as interesting, autonomous, and respected as that enjoyed by Mr. McPhee.
It’s just enough of a push to turn me away from my latest schemes, and get me back to putting pen on paper and chalk on chalkboard.