Thursday 07 April 2011
There is a wonderful idea in the world of aerodynamics which says that according to the laws of physics, a Bumble Bee should not be able to fly, it’s body mass being greater than the lift generated by its tiny wings… Only no one has told the Bumble Bee.
I always feel the same way about helicopters… my brain just can’t comprehend how they work but there’s certainly been no escaping them this week. On Wednesday I appeared on Scottish Television proving that change doesn’t have to take a long time by curing a 30 year flying phobia in 45 minutes and proving by flying the former phobic by (you’ve guessed it) helicopter to loch Lomond and back… if you want to see sheer joy of what being set free after 30 years looks like watch this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zv6uq9fKEQ
Then, at short notice and straight from the studio I had to fly to London for the Eddie Nestor show late at night on BBC London. I was getting quite used to the rock n roll lifestyle and could already picture my big entrance at The Verta Hotel and Spa at London’s heliport. Sadly reality struck and my Toyota Prius mini cab didn’t make for nearly as glamorous an entrance as some of the other guests… Maybe next time eh?
All this hanging around with man-made Bumble Bees did get me thinking, though. If a Bumble Bee can fly because no one has told it otherwise, then what can we do if only we didn’t think we couldn’t?
Sitting thinking about that (in the fantastic hotel Spa, where else?) I was reminded of an interview I did last year when my last book came out… The journalist, who was very obviously a frustrated novelist, began the interview by telling me all about how hard it is to get a book published these days, and how most writers' dreams end in the failure of endless rejection letters…It went something like this.
‘So, Mr Campbell, with most publishers only accepting shortlisted agent submissions, some accepting only those authors who have a proven track record, and many others, simply not taking unsolicited manuscripts anymore, and with submission guidelines constantly changing from one moment to the next for the few that do and many writers suffering the stigma of being buried under 100s of rejections, how did you manage to become a bestseller with your first attempt?’
Wow!! Do you think someone’s had a hard time getting their book published?
‘I just didn’t know that it was supposed to be that hard’.
I’m sure they still don’t believe my answer, but it’s true. Had I known I’m sure I’d never even have tried… After all, what would be the point?
But honestly, the thought of how hard it could be had even never crossed my mind and so I just got on with doing it. That’s actually the story of my life. I have become successful by staying out of my own way long enough to be and do ok. Perhaps it’s because I’m often just too stupid to recognize the obstacles but it’s a pattern I’ve noticed with so many successful people I have worked with. People who are successful by any barometer you choose to measure.
Sports people perform best when they are relaxed and in ‘flow.’ Relationships work best when they are not lived through a filter of fear, jealousy or worry and careers work best when you are relaxed, creative and at your most intelligent and you are at your most intelligent when, yes you’ve guessed it, when you stop telling yourself that you’re not or that you can’t.
If you are doing anything else you have about as much chance of flying high as a self-doubting Bumble Bee… they are not the only creature that can only fly because they don’t know otherwise… we are exactly the same. You don’t have to do much to be successful: just staying out of your own way for a while is usually enough.
Now buzz off and Bee happy!