Why You Don’t Need to be the First to Accomplish Your Dreams and Make a Difference in Your Field

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment. –Ralph Waldo Emerson

Being a veritable drop in the enormous pond that is self-help, I’m sure many people would ask themselves why I would even bother to make a site devoted to something that has been covered thousands of times before.

Well, that’s a little self-centered.  A more likely thought to pop into your mind is why you would bother trying to break into any field in which you are interested in when there are likely thousands upon thousands of individuals who have not only done the same thing you’re setting out to do, but have done it incredibly well.

In fact, some of the individuals who have been in your field since before you even considered joining have been busy winning awards and making speeches, hobnobbing at all the exclusive your-field parties and speaking to all the your-field big shots.  They’ve been working in your-field for more years than you have been alive and here you come, thinking you have something to contribute.  Many people will tell you that you are wasting your time.

As it turns out, many people are wrong.

It’s very easy to get wrapped up in the success of other people and turn that success into a mountain you believe must be scaled before you can ever be successful doing the same thing or something similar.  In fact it’s not just easy to create said mountain, it’s common.  Why?  It makes it easy to duck out before you’ve even begun; to fail before starting and thus not having to worry about actually failing and making yourself feel foolish.

But the truth is that you don’t have to compete or beat out the others in your field to be good at what you do and to provide value.  You don’t have to be the best to be successful (Though, yes, you should always try.) and you almost certainly have a much larger chance at succeeding than you give yourself credit for.

The reason for this higher chance of success despite everyone elses success in whatever it is you’re interested in getting into is that if you are providing real value to people, it doesn’t matter if a thousand people have done it before.  People will be attracted to what you are doing, and if you’re starting a business around the idea they’ll even pay you for it.

These are rather abstract statements, so I’ll demonstrate.  I’m going to use writing a book or a blog as an example because that is what I have experience with, but I’m positive that what I’m about to say can be applied to any field, so extrapolate and apply where necessary.

So, let’s say you are dying to become the next great Fantasy writer of your generation.  You have a load of great ideas, you write everyday and are fairly certain you could make it as a published author.  You’re just about to write your first fantasy epic when all of a sudden you stumble upon something horrifying.  There’s a rather successful English woman by the initials J.K. who seems to have taken the fantasy field and fiction in general by storm.

Immediately you start talking down to yourself.  You can’t be that successful, you don’t write well enough to sell millions of copies of books, you haven’t even sold one!  And if everyone is buying these incredibly successful books, then who is going to buy yours?

The answer is that a lot of people are going to buy your book.  Why?  Because if you write everyday and you have a passion for writing, it doesn’t matter that there are five million people buying the latest Harry Potter book.  Your book is not about the same thing Mrs. Rowling is writing about and it will appeal to different people.  Furthermore, it will probably appeal to a lot of the same people who have been reading Harry Potter and who have more than $20 to spend on leisure activities and they’ll pick up your book as well.

The fact of the matter is that there are six billion people on this planet, and if you’re writing something of value; true value, something that you’re passionate about, then people are going to buy it.

“But what if I am writing a book about a young boy who gets accepted into wizardry school after living with his dastardly uncle and is thrown into a fight for his life once he arrives!” you say.

“Oh?  And where did you get that idea from?” I say cheekily.  (Then abruptly stop talking before I become hypcoricy incarnate.)

The question is a valid one.  What if you’re doing the exact same thing as many other people have in the past.  What then?  Well, that’s where this website serves as a wonderful example.

This website is about personal develpment.  (Growth from the inside out and all that great stuff.)  This is a topic that has been done to death.  There are hundreds of other blogs out there offering the same thing, and chances are that they are going to have a lot of the same general ideas as I present on this website, but there is one thing they won’t have: Me.

No site, no matter how much self-help and personal development content they publish, is ever going to have me writing the artices.  No website is going to present the ideas in the way that I present them and no one is going to be able to write exactly as I would.  Everyone is different.  Everyone learns in a different way and everyone finds different presentations of the same material effective to varying degrees.

That was kind of a convoluted sentence, so I’ll make it a little easier to understand.  If you and I read the same self-help book, let’s say…  How to Effectively Peel a Banana and Other Great Tips, when we’re done reading it’s either going to have gotten the message across incredibly well, effectively, sufficiently or not at all.  Let’s say I read it and I get what the author is trying to say and how to do it, but it doesn’t inspire me to go out and peel any bananas, and in fact a month down the road I’m going to forget all about peeling bananas and move on with my life.

But let’s say that after we finish the book you think that peeling bananas is the greatest thing since sliced bread.  You’ve been totally and completely convinced because whoever wrote the book was writing from a perspective you can relate to and clearly got across to you what they were trying to communicate.

With me so far?  Okay.  So now let’s pretend that two months after reading How to Effectively Peel a Banana and Other Great Tips I read a different book on the same topic.  This time I pick up The Alchemy of Peeling Bananas written by a completely different author.  I plow through this book, reading it from cover to cover within a few hours  and am suddenly completely converted to peeling bananas.

Even though both books are on the exact same subject, one that worked for you won’t necessarily work for me and vice versa.  It’s the same thing with this blog and it’s the same thing with whatever you’re interested in pursuing.  No one has you.  No one can do your take on something, and your take is incredibly important.  I can guarantee you that your take is probably a life-changing event to someone else and that if you only spent the time to pursue your passions that they would eat up whatever you were producing.

So.  Follow your dreams, follow your passions and don’t worry about the other people in your field of choice.  There is always room for one more, and your ‘one more’ could be the difference between night and day to your audience/consumer/whatever.  I can guarantee that if you’re churning out something of value, you’ll help people and in return you’ll get value back yourself.

My name is Thomas.  Welcome to Implicate Evolution.

3 Responses to “Why You Don’t Need to be the First to Accomplish Your Dreams and Make a Difference in Your Field”

  1. Sana says:

    This was lovely and VERY inspiring!! =) Basically because I have been asking myself this very question for a long time. This post put into words what I sort of felt but was never sure off. Great job Thomas! I love all your articles, the ones I have read so far.

  2. Lena says:

    I really like this post :) I question myself going into different interests or hobbies, simply because I feel I can’t be nearly as good enough as experts, who are already doing it so well and maybe have way more talent than I do. It’s silly, as I think we should all follow our hearts and passions. This paragraph, I found especially insightful:
    “The reason for this higher chance of success despite everyone elses success in whatever it is you’re interested in getting into is that if you are providing real value to people, it doesn’t matter if a thousand people have done it before. People will be attracted to what you are doing, and if you’re starting a business around the idea they’ll even pay you for it.”

    • Tom says:

      Not to toot my own horn, but I rather liked this one as well. It was a strange realization for me that I spent a lot of time comparing myself to other writers and how good they already were while I was just starting. But you’re right when you say that we should all follow our passions. Especially because each of us brings something different to the table.

      The more I follow what my passions tell me to do, the easier it becomes. All those hurdles you encounter at first suddenly start falling over on their own.

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