Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Greatest Writer Who Never Was

When I started my MBA program back in 2007, I was fortunate enough to have the best professor I've ever had teaching my Entrepreneurship class. As odd as it sounds, this man convinced me that an MBA wasn't what I wanted. Some may argue the point, but I connected with the statement that most successful business owners never reach the level of education that an MBA offers. It isn't because the knowledge isn't valuable. In fact, most middle and senior managers have an education in Business Management. But the hard truth is that these men and women are just that, managers. Statistically, that's what you can count on once you've gotten your Master's of Business Administration. But why is that?

Several studies have shown, and yes - I'm sure this point is arguable as well, most business owners only succeed after failing and many fail several times before getting it right. It's for this reason that those with less education may be most likely to succeed. They learn their lessons hard and don't give up when Risk Analysis and other notions of higher education would tell them to cut their losses. This is, of course, a harsh generalization. There are several factors for success. With the right idea and a keen sense of the market, many people of all levels of education join the fray and lead successful small and large businesses across the globe. A lack of education is not an ingredient for success in and of itself and many more uneducated business owners never succeed verses those who do.

But what does this have to do with writing?

I'm sitting in Barnes & Noble, taking a small break from an assignment for my Master's of Information Security and Assurance from Western Governors University. As an aspiring author, I just can't help but take in how many books line the shelves in the store around me. As a technical person by trade, I see so much more available at my fingertips in the electronic books that also line the shelves of the virtual store available through my Nook Color. I've written before on this blog about how many How-to writing books I've purchased over the years. I've got shelves full. I've only read portions of most of them, finding the contents within to be mostly fluff.  I do have a few gems in my collection, but what good has it done? I wasn't instantly given some boon of Bestselling Authorship. My biggest hurdle to success remains the same... me.

All these books on the shelves, thousands upon thousands of them. Between what's available here tangibly and what I can read online in-store, there are literally hundreds of millions of pages of written words at my disposal. And yet, none of them are mine. So vast is the sea of written content that many of us will never even come close to reading but a portion. Every year countless more pages add to the pot. The only consistent factor is that every year none of them have been mine.

The saddest part of this isn't that I know I'm a fair decent writer. It's that I know I'm not alone. And honestly, before we get too stuck on the notion of writing here, this extends to so many hobbies and dreams. There are so many of us who feel obligated to get our ducks in a row before pursuing our dreams, but the bitter truth of it is that the particulars of this world will never be perfectly aligned. There will always be the next tragedy, the next bump in the road. We cannot manage life, we can only do our best to navigate it.

Will you be the greatest writer (sculptor, painter, angler, sailor, astronaut, etc.) who never was? Or will you choose to step above the odds and chase your dream for the simple joy of doing what it is that you love? Regardless of what you answer today, only time will tell.

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