Sometimes you realise that it is the little things that can make a huge difference.
The photo that I uploaded here wasn’t terribly different from any photo that I’ve uploaded previously. Yet this time it has sparked a bunch of comments – whereas my ‘average’ photo on Facebook struggles to even get a caption or tagged correctly. And it wasn’t the first comment that ‘did’ it either, but rather it was the stream of comments that compounded together to create momentum.
Momentum like that is difficult to predict, a combination, I think, of there being so much random variation (aka “chance”) involved and there being so many semi-opaque variables that even if you did know all the things that you would need to know to figure out the answer, it would be too much of a pain for you to figure it out anyway.
It is like a trend – there are just so many things that contribute to a trend’s success that it is immensely difficult to predict. Why did JR Rawlings become a billion-dollar miracle while David Eddings’ or Robert Jordan’s endless volumes of high-quality fantasy remain merely popular?
Rather like intimate relationships at times…
Of course, there are externalities involved at times and conspiracy theorists have been making other books out of this for years (a la The Da Vinci Code), yet the gap between the .00001% that makes a fortune and significantly impacts the lives of millions of people, and being “just another” seems so grotesquely small.
It doesn’t seem to be “skill” (eg Ayn Rand).
It doesn’t seem to be “originality” (eg The Secret).
However, it is a form of genius. Perhaps the most important lesson that I can take from this is to pursue what you personally feel passionate about… firstly because that is what is most likely to yield an outcome that is sufficiently unique and able to adequately connect to the hearts of those that you strive to impact that it gives you a chance of “winning”, but more importantly still, because even if you don’t “win”, you will still be doing what you love.