I’ve never been naturally talented at anything that I’ve done. The only “talent” that I’ve been blessed with is an ability to work at things with bull-headed persistence. That persistence has paid-off many times in my life. When I was a teenager became a very good archer (I very briefly held a world record. I also shared a target with Geena Davis in 1999). However, even my coach had his doubts that I would get that good (he told me this years later) because I struggled mightily for the first few years until one day everything just “clicked.”
When I started writing Free Technology for Teachers I really didn’t know anything about blogging and at first it was just a fun project. That changed on a Sunday morning in January 2008 when I watched a video of Robert Scoble interviewing Pete Cashmore about the origins of Mashable. In that interview Cashmore told Scoble that he basically wrote everything he could for two years to get Mashable off the ground. That interview inspired me to look toward making Free Technology for Teachers a project that could provide some part-time income. It took 18 months to make my first $100 from Free Technology for Teachers. Every month since that first $100 came in, revenues increased to the point that I was able to make blogging and speaking a full-time occupation. It took a while, but persistence paid-off and continues to pay-off. For another example of how persistence pays off in blogging, take a look at this interview with Michael Arrington, the founder of TechCrunch.
The web is littered with abandoned blogs, in part, because many people don’t have the persistence to stick with a project if the results don’t come as quickly as they hope them to come. Persistence doesn’t mean doing something until it’s no longer fun, it means doing something even when it’s not fun. There are days when it is a struggle to write, but I sit down and do it. Pushing through the times when it’s not fun or not easy is what can make you successful.
(Yes, that’s me in the picture. It was taken when I was seventeen and training at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, California).