Why success is like a sausage

They were eating sausage rolls. Or rather one of the Yr10 girls was, the other was pointing at them and asking, ‘Do you know what’s in them?’

‘Not bothered’, was the response. Presumably because nobody wants to talk about how sausages are made while they are eating them.

It reminded me of parkrun a few weeks ago.  It was a quiet week and I found myself in the lead from the outset. I took a risk and pushed on as hard as I could, eventually finding myself the first over the finish line.  Later that day my father in law asked me what my training was like. How had I managed to go from a 24 minute runner to, well, first over the line? I stated by saying that back in 2012 when I first started parkrun…then I added a longer run…then…

I could almost sense his eyes glazing over. I didn’t think that I was going to bore him with my answer, and that was certainly not my intention.  He didn’t say ‘Not bothered,’ but his body language spoke otherwise, and not wishing to prolong his discomfort I just simply said that I had got lucky because it was, after all, a quiet week.

That’s why success is like sausages.  When it comes down to it very few of us really want to get our hands dirty, we don’t want to break the process down and learn from its constituent parts.  Many of us are happy enough to taste the end result, but the tiny, messy, difficult steps required to get there are for other people to attend to.

I get it. I really do. Back in my formative ‘misery years’ I would ascribe the quicker running that others could muster to an innate talent, to luck, to winning the genetic lottery. But I’m not stupid, and I quickly realised that these are just convenient excuses; they don’t ever account for the successes of others.  These days I’m fascinated by what makes people successful, what makes them really push themselves far, far beyond what we mistakenly think is possible. And when I speak to these people, or read about them, or just listen to them they all say a version of the same thing: forget the sausage; just concentrate on the daily process of making one.