‘You have as many hours in a day as Beyonce’.
The statement was written with a simple black pen, and without any attention to layout or graphic appeal. Around it were three more comments, and judging by the message and colour of the pen; written by other people. Those comments were about how privileged and supported Beyonce has always been by her mother, father and plenty of housekeepers. The point to be made here was, how lucky and privileged Beyonce is.
As you probably realize, these are the exact opposite points of view. What I would like to emphasize is not the justification of her success thanks to other people that more than one person evidently had felt like making, but the message in the original statement. Because no matter how you turn it around, and what excuses you find, we all have just as much time as Beyonce. Therefore, if she could obtain great success, so could we potentially. This is exactly why many are provoked about the message. Because we realize that we could have perhaps done more and better. Against whose expectations do we measure this – most likely only our own. Your own effort and your own expectations. No one else to blame.
After many years in the fashion industry and working with many students, I think, it takes three things to become a great fashion designer; passion, hard work and some luck. Let’s concentrate on passion and hard work, and leave luck out of this discussion, as it becomes too philosophical for this discussion.
It’s an on-going discussion, if talent or hard work is most important, and I tend to change my mind about, what I think. I do think talent is hugely important, and is that ‘something’ that’s hard to pinpoint. Talent is also the feel for things that are hard to teach, as they’re skills that can’t be taught or learnt technically. The nose for what will be ‘in’ next season, a flair for trend forecasting or research, and just being able to imagine, project and design things that are very desirable. On the opposite side you have the hard work, which is like an engine driving a train. When you’ve done something for 10.000 hours, you will have learnt a lot. When you continue to do it for another 10.000 and then another 10.000, needless to say, you will end up master the task to almost perfection. Without hard work, talent is wasted.
Then there’s passion, which from how I see it, sits a bit in between the two. I think talent is a joy and flair for something, and if often goes hand in hand with passion. On the contrary, you can have passion without talent. Passion is also the drive behind hard work, and this is why I think that passion connects the two.
The reason I was drawn to the statement in the ladies’ room is because, I think it’s really important to remember two things: that hard work is necessary if you want to achieve something remarkable, and also because it’s a good reminder that we all have the possibility of achieving it. It can be easy to forget in a busy and challenging everyday life, but remembering that your dream – however big it may be – is within reach is a great motivator for putting in our best. ‘If you can dream it, you can do it’, somebody once said. Perhaps I should write that in the loo next time I visit.