#29 Stay on the bus?

Most of us have heard about deliberate practice. 

"It entails considerable, specific, and sustained efforts to do something you can’t do well—or even at all. Research across domains shows that it is only by working at what you can’t do that you turn into the expert you want to become."

The 10,000-Hour Rule has also been used widely after Malcolm Gladwell published his book Outliers: The Story of Success.

Though there were many criticism of the 10,000 hour rule, I thought it was a good benchmark for anyone wanting to try their hands at something.

Then today I read this

The Helsinki Bus Station Theory.

It talks about a photographer, Minkkinen giving a speech to graduating students. 

He reckoned creative life to hoping on a bus after choosing one of the platforms at the bus station. Each bus stop interval represents one year of the life of a creative. At the third year, a photographer could have come up with a series of photos and realise that what she has done for three years, others have already done. And so she hops off the bus and takes a cab back to the bus station to choose another platform to get on another bus. 

Then she hops on another bus and spend another three years coming up with another series of photos, perhaps of a different style and yet, she received the same comments that her work seems similar to another photographer. 

So once again, she steps off the bus and take a cab back to the bus station looking for another platform and another bus to get on. 

And this goes on for all of her creative life, always showing new work and always being compared to others. 

Minkkinen then paused and asked his students, "What to do?"

“It’s simple,” he said. “Stay on the bus. Stay on the f*cking bus. Because if you do, in time, you will begin to see a difference.”

He went on to say that some buses go the same route for a while, maybe a few stops before they start to separate. 

“It’s the separation that makes all the difference."

"And once you start to see that difference in your work from the work you so admire—that’s why you chose that platform after all—it’s time to look for your breakthrough. Suddenly your work starts to get noticed. Now you are working more on your own, making more of the difference between your work and what influenced it. Your vision takes off. And as the years mount up and your work begins to pile up, it won’t be long before the critics become very intrigued, not just by what separates your work from a Sally Mann or a Ralph Gibson, but by what you did when you first got started!”

Following the story, whether consistency lead to success was answered in the article. 

Rework was what counts. 

"By staying on the bus, you give yourself time to re-work and revise until you produce something unique, inspiring, and great. It’s only by staying on board that mastery reveals itself. Show up enough times to get the average ideas out of the way and every now and then genius will reveal itself."

"A lot of people put in 10,000 hours. Very few people put in 10,000 hours of revision. The only way to do that is to stay on the bus."

What do you think of this theory? 


Stay safe, be well, see you tomorrow!


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