Mediocrity Is Always In A Rush

Here’s some advice on what separates genius from mediocrity by British novelist Amelia Barr:

Everything good needs time. Don’t do work in a hurry. Go into details; it pays in every way. Time means power for your work. Mediocrity is always in a rush; but whatever is worth doing at all is worth doing with consideration. For genius is nothing more nor less than doing well what anyone can do badly.

– From the essay A Successful Novelist, published in the How They Succeeded collection.

These days, everything happens fast. Amazon offers same day delivery in major cities. With a few taps on your smartphone, someone will bring food to your doors minutes after it left the kitchen. Web pages load in milliseconds.

It’s only natural to transfer this expectation of immediacy to other areas of our lives—I want insert-thing-you-just-started to be successful. Today!

We are an impatient society, but genius needs time.

Amelia Barr explained that you need time to go into details, to do well what anyone can do badly. But there’s more to it than that. Nothing great was built in one go. You need to iterate and react to the feedback you receive.

Being willing to put in the time instantly brings you ahead of the pack. When most people quit after not getting the instant gratification they crave, those who were able to wait will have no competition left.

In an impatient society, patience is a superpower.