Success is Never Having to Ask “Do I Have to..?”
Sometimes new inventors will ask me:
“Do I have to ……?”
This query may be followed by:
- Do I have to make more than one prototype?
- Do I have to do a patent search?
- Do I have to have a working prototype?
My short answer is always “no, you don't have to do anything.” I typically follow that with “you don't have to … unless you want to be successful.”
Inventing is a risky endeavor; less than 5% of all patent holders ever make a cent from their product. Actors, as a group, probably have a higher success rate than do inventors. Acting and inventing, besides being creative endeavors, have another thing in common – both require a great deal of passion, persistence, and hard work to achieve success. A person looking for the easy way to succeed will never find it because it does not exist.
Would an olympic skater ask, do I have to skate 3 hours a day?
Would a concert pianist ask, do I have to practice playing every day?
Would a young man aspiring to be an NFL football player ask, do I have to play so much football all the time?
The answer to all of these queries is the same, of course you do!
I highly recommend reading books by Malcolm Gladwell for interesting insights on effort versus success, particularly his book Outliers where he discusses the 10,000 hour rule:
Those who achieve outstanding success in any field, focus on what needs to be done, not what has to be done or what they want to do. The latter two focus upon achieving a minimal acceptable level of attainment. The former is the lodestone of those who achieve high levels of success.
If what needs to be done is more than you feel you can do or are willing to do, then you simply have to do something else!