Risk & Business Magazine General Insurance Services - Fall 2020 - Page 12
“Just Take More Pictures”
NOLAN RYAN, SETH GODIN, AND THE COUNTERINTUITIVE WAY TO
BUILDING RESILIENCE AND DEVELOPING MORE LONG-TERM SUCCESS
When I was a little kid,
my dad bought me The
Complete Major League
Baseball Statistics, a
frayed paperback with a
green cover. I treasured it and kept it in my
room for years. I flipped through it so many
As I paged through the numbers, I started
to notice something interesting.
Cy Young had the most wins of all time in
Cy Young had the most losses, too (316).
Nolan Ryan had the most strikeouts (5,714).
Nolan Ryan had the most walks, too (2,795).
Why would the guy with the most wins also
have the most losses? Why would the guy
with the most strikeouts also have the most
They just played the most.
They just tried the most.
They just moved through loss the most.
Sometimes the whole thing really comes
down to quantity over quality.
Have you ever asked an incredible wedding
photographer how they capture such
perfect moments? I have. And they all
say the same thing: “I just take way more
pictures. I’ll take a thousand pictures over a
three-hour wedding. That’s a picture every
10 seconds. Of course, I’m going to have 50
good ones. I’m throwing 950 pictures away
to find them!”
Sometimes I’m doing a Q&A after a
speech and someone puts their hand up
and asks a question along the lines of “So,
congratulations on the success of The Book
of Awesome. My question is: How do I get
paid millions to write about farting in
The question is along the lines of saying
“So you won the lottery. How do I win the
I always answer the same way, with a reply
I stole from Todd Hanson, former head
writer at The Onion. He was interviewed
by Mike Sacks for the book And Here’s the
Kicker: Conversations with 21 Top Humor
Writers on Their Craft. He said that whenever
he’s asked the smart-ass question “So how
do I get a job writing jokes for money like
you did?” he gives a very simple answer.
“Do it for free for 10 years.”
See, we’re surrounded by tales of instant
millions and lightning-fast growth and
tiny startups sold to Google for billions of
dollars two months after they launched. We
keep clicking links promising the “seven
30-second hacks to get a six-pack in 21 days.”
We’re desperate to pull back the curtain on
Oz, but what we want to find—quick fixes,
easy answers, shortcuts—isn’t there.
We don’t want to hear that some things