Monday, March 19, 2012

It takes a while: the value of persistence

or as Ira Glass says, "It's normal to take a while, and you just have to fight your way through that."

A semi-recent post on A Photo Editor compares trying to make a living from photography to playing the lottery. I guess the idea behind that comparison is that many people spend a lot of time gambling on some big future payday that may or may not come. The post concludes that the "labor lottery" is not a bad thing because it pushes people to work harder—kind of a problematic comparison since playing the actual lottery doesn't involve work. I know that the post is trying to talk about work + luck, but the real conclusion ends up being "enter as many lotteries as possible," which is a euphemistic way of saying "Don't quit your day job," or as one of the comments says, have "multiple income streams."

In contrast, the Cartier-Bresson and Ira Glass quotes at the top of this post are talking about quality rather than a cash windfall. Rather than gaming the system by playing in a lot of "lotteries," I would prefer to think about Glass' encouragement to put in the work that it takes to get your skill level up to the level of your taste. You may or may not end up rich, but it might just feel like winning the lottery.