The Myth of The Overnight Success

We hear about them often in the media.  They’re the overnight success who appeared seemingly out of nowhere and are now on every magazine cover, talk show, and everywhere else you look. It can be frustrating to see someone like this.  Someone who has been allegedly picked out of obscurity to become the latest Next Big Thing. 

But before you get jealous or frustrated, take a closer look.

The idea of an Overnight Success is misleading and a myth. No one just pops up one day, is found by chance, and suddenly makes it big (and even if they do, it’s very, very rare). That person has a story.  Probably one similar to yours when it comes to being an artist.  Maybe they struggled for years to write, act, sing, and get their work out to the public. Perhaps they did have a hard time for a decade or more as they worked a day job and created at night.

It’s all a matter of perspective.

The hype over an Overnight Success is a marketing gimmick.  If you watch or read biographies about famous people, most of them struggled and worked hard to get to where they are now. Even an Overnight Success had to fight and claw their way to get that title.  

The best way to fight against having envy or jealously over someone deemed an Overnight Success is to find out the real story.  Don’t rely on social media or those making them into something that looks good on a glossy magazine at the grocery store checkout.

Who is this person?  Where did they come from?  What were their goals?  What were their struggles to reach those goals?  What path did they take?  What setbacks did they encounter that eventually led them to be named an Overnight Success?  

Finding the real story and discovering the truth can help you in your efforts to write, act, sing, or create.  You can see what tools and tactics they used.  How they found a balance between work, family, and being creative.  This is an opportunity to learn from this person, not become discouraged by their sudden Overnight Success.

Because you’ll quickly see that is never the case.

So, the next time you see a story where people are fawning over a sudden Overnight Success, take a step back and find out how long it took them to be awarded that title.  I’m sure that “overnight” was years or even decades in the making.

Next week, I’ll explore another Myth.  See you then!

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