Thursday, October 29, 2009

Relentlessness: The Key to Success

I keep finding that successful people have, in addition to intelligence, one key quality: relentlessness. They latch on a goal and then persist in a comprehensive attack on it.

For example, if I aspired to the long-shot career of sportswriter, I'd:
  • identify the 20 sportswriters I most admire. For each, I'd read five or ten of their most recent articles, taking notes on what I most wanted to emulate.
  • then write to each of them, explaining how much I admired them, and would include the aforementioned examples. I'd ask if they would offer me career advice and/or feedback on articles I've written.
  • send profuse thanks and a new article of mine to any sportswriters that responded. Eventually, I'd ask for leads and a letter of recommendation for a job or internship.
  • read the useful articles on the websites of the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association, Baseball Writers Association of America, Football Writers Association of America, and U.S. Basketball Writers Association. I'd network and get advice at their national conferences and local chapter meetings. And I'd keep writing a lot, ever incorporating the useful feedback I was getting.
Despite sportswriting being a long-shot career, if I had at least moderate talent, I'd bet I'd achieve my goal of becoming a professional sportswriter.

Even in mundane fields, relentlessness is the most potent way to ensure your success. If you wait for good things to happen, or you tackle things in drips and drabs, unless you're brilliant or lucky, you'll likely be waiting for Godot.

1 comment:

Frustrated Fed said...

Even if you practice focused relentlessness, it is still difficult to make a decent living in journalism due to the law of supply and demand. I like your previously mentioned idea of selecting "under the radar" careers."

Former Small-Market Journalist


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