How to grab your window of opportunity!

Hugh MacLeod

Vincent van Gogh made some breakthrough paintings for about 5–10 years, before his life ended.

Andy Warhol was making some pretty radical art for about six or seven years, before going all popstar-formulaic for the rest of his life.

The Beatles had been together just over five years, before they started running out of gas.

Doonesbury was the world’s greatest comic strip in the early seventies, but around 1977–1980 it started losing a lot of its early charm and became a bit more “manufactured”.

J. K. Rowling spent a decade writing the Harry Potter books, then kicked back, a very rich woman. Fair enough.

The Clash, the greatest punk band ever, had a good run of about five years, then imploded.

Even Pablo Picasso, probably the most inventive artist in the history of the world, maxed out at Guernica in the late 1930s and coasted till he died in the 1970s.

And businesses are not that different.

They’ll do amazing work for their first decade as a growing concern, before going public and becoming same ol’, same ol’ commodified, or being bought out and swallowed up by a larger competitor (or going out of business altogether).

What does this tell us? That even with the greatest creators in the world, inventiveness is not unlimited. The gods give us a brief window, and we either jump through it or we don’t.

Five or ten years is not a long time. Five or ten years goes very fast.

Know this when your time comes, and act swiftly.

I received this article via email from @gapingvoid and thought it was too good and I had this overwhelming feeling to share it. You can see the original email below and here. Note they misspelled van Gogh’s surname, oh my I was distraught about that. A fellow Dutchman and they misspelled his name!

Hugh MacLeod