We like to look for one primary secret to the success of the superstars of the world, even though almost always a combination of factors, people, and circumstances were involved. It remains instructive though when a highly successful professional freely offers the big reveal on how they got to the top. As reported in Lifehacker, software developer Brad Isaac has such a story to tell about Jerry Seinfeld, and it’s not “about nothing.”
Isaac knew Seinfeld as a nightclub comic before he hit it big in television, but already it was clear he was on his way up. He asked Jerry what the big secret was, and he got an answer. Productivity is everything in writing. Only through having a mountain of material can you cull out the crap and leave an abundance of actual nuggets of great quality. And the one and only way to attain this level of productivity is to write something every day.
He didn’t mean 364 days a year. You don’t take a day off on the Festivus for the Rest of Us. Writing every day meant just that to Jerry:
“He told me to get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall. The next step was to get a big red magic marker. He said for each day that I do my task of writing, I get to put a big red X over that day. After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain.”
“Don’t break the chain,” he said again for emphasis.
Mr. Seinfeld’s technique is straightforward. But it is a strategy that sidesteps the inner causes of procrastination. It also never defines how much writing qualifies as the daily minimum. So, maybe there is such a thing as arguing with success. Not that there’s anything wrong with it!
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