20 February 2011
As a climbing coach who is always trying to understand and communicate the ingredients of becoming really good at climbing, I spend a fair bit of time observing other disciplines like art and business. An idea I read today looked at the lotteries we play as wannabes in whatever field.
Not the ‘actual’ lottery, but the lottery of getting picked by a talent scout, signed by a big record company or featured in a TV programme. Most people get to show some raw, unrefined talent as youngsters. It’s not really gone anywhere yet. It needs focus and application over years to develop before it has the power to break new ground. If you are gearing everything you do towards winning that lottery, are you accepting that you’re almost certain to be one of the ones who loses? People don’t really keep playing the national lotteries as a way to become millionaires. What keeps them buying the ticket is the buzz of buying the ticket.
A lot of the time, ‘waiting’ to win opportunity lotteries like record deals causes young talents to languish without ever going anywhere. In a flash they are no longer 18 but jaded and tired out from the fruitless wait for something they will never win. I’ve seen a lot of talents in climbing fizzle because they are ‘waiting’ to score a sponsorship deal, strike on a magic training formula, move to a climbing mecca and magically soak up the ability etc.
How would it change your approach if you bet on never winning a lucky break? If you bet on having to get there just on the resources you have right now? That’s when industriousness kicks in and some actual progress happens.