In 1963, four unknown lads from Liverpool recorded the LP Please Please Me, which shot to number one on charts worldwide. The Beatles went on to become the most successful band of all time. What was the secret of their overnight success?
Rava taught: A young scholar is like a seed in the hard ground. Once it sprouts, it sprouts.
Rashi explains: Once a seed sprouts forth from the ground, there’s no stopping its growth. Similarly, once a Torah scholar’s name is out there, his prominence never ceases to grow.
In The Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell documents the incredible rise of the Beatles and other unbelievable success stories, such as that of Bill Gates. He concludes that success never happens overnight. Each of his case studies racked up over ten thousand hours of hard work before they achieved their respective breakthroughs. Prior to being discovered, the Beatles had played thousands of hours in clubs in Hamburg, and Bill Gates had plugged away days and nights mastering programming long before most people had even heard of computers.
We often look at successful people and envy their rapid rise to the top, believing that they made it by some stroke of luck or a chance meeting with the right person. It rarely happens like that. Rava teaches us that the rapid rise of the tree was preceded by years of germination beneath the surface.
If you seek success in life, you must be prepared to put in the hours. You need to invest the time and effort below the surface before you sprout forth. Once you get your big break, the sky’s the limit! But just to get to the surface takes incredible work and determination, the likes of which most people sadly lack.
If you want to be that guy, you better be prepared to toil to get there!