I don’t think winners beat the competition because they work harder. And it’s not even clear that they win because they have more creativity. The secret, I think, is in understanding what matters.
It’s not obvious, and it changes. It changes by culture, by buyer, by product and even by the day of the week. But those that manage to capture the imagination, make sales and grow are doing it by perfecting the things that matter and ignoring the rest.
Both parts are difficult, particularly when you are surrounded by people who insist on fretting about and working on the stuff that makes no difference at all.
I wasn’t a hard worker as a kid. In fact, I was expelled from school at 12, with the diagnosis “oppositional defiance disorder.” In high school, I flunked math classes for handing in tests blank and got suspended for reading books in class. I didn’t get accepted to a single academic college.
“When I like people immensely, I never tell their names to any one. It is like surrendering a part of them. I have grown to love secrecy. It seems to be the one thing that can make modern life mysterious or marvelous to us. The commonest thing is delightful if one only hides it.”—Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray (via bookmania)
Henri’s Walk To Paris, by Leonore Klein and illustrated by Saul Bass. I first mentioned this here several months back, and it’s now available. First published in 1962, this was Bass’s only children’s book that he illustrated. I’ve written up a review on my blog, if you’re curious.