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Number Of The Best?

May 14, 2008

Iron Maiden\'s 757Arriving at Gatwick this morning my plane taxied past a rather special 757. Iron Maiden are, by any measure, very, very successful — so successful that they have their own customized 757 called Ed Force 1. It’s the sort of thing that youngsters might aspire to… but what is going to get them there?

As part of my preparation for today’s “Shine The Light On!” event, I’ve been re-reading Hugh MacLeod‘s “How To Be Creative“. Quite apart from the brilliance of Hugh’s cartoons, I was especially struck by point 14 (Dying young is overrated) as I think it might be very relevant today. He writes:

But the kid thinks it’s all about talent: he thinks it’s all about “potential.” He underestimates how much time, discipline and stamina also play their part… Every kid underestimates his competition, and overestimates his chances. Every kid is a sucker for the idea that there’s a way to make it without having to do the actual hard work.

I think we’ve all seen it… the talented youngster who doesn’t succeed and so starts to blame the failure on other factors. If I get anything from today, I hope that I learn some new ways to encourage pupils to keep going, to break through the pain barrier and to realise that talent — on its own — is never going to be enough. Ask anyone who has succeeded – you’ve got to put the hours in or instead of an Iron Maiden 757, you’ll be lucky to get a Pete Docherty Airfix kit!

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