When you start in a new field, everything you hear seems thoughtful. You think that everybody knows a lot, but as years come along, you notice that the 99% repeat the work of the 1%—the ones with a voice.
You’re in a seminar, in a classroom o wherever, and if you’re new you can learn a lot. However, over time you start to read the same information again and again, being able to separate that 99% and you start looking for the 1%. The real experts.
In marketing is easy to identify the people with a voice. One example is Seth Godin. This guy has an unique and relevant voice. It’s inevitable that marketers emulate his voice. He’s so good you can’t ignore him. And wherever you go, marketers might be emulating his voice. There’s nothing wrong with that. As a matter of fact, to be a real expert, first you need to study the best and afterwards aim to develop your own voice.
“We want you to take from us. We want you, at first, to steal from us, because you can’t steal. You will take what we give you and you will put it in your own voice and that’s how you will find your voice. And that’s how you begin. And then one day someone will steal from you.”
—Francis Ford Coppola
Alas, almost everybody that call themselves experts are in the 99%. There’s no room for everybody at the top.
In the end books are made by other books. That means that most writers complete their work with other’s work. Something totally legitimate and the best way to learn (and become an expert). That’s why it’s important to be super careful with what you decide to read. For two reasons: (1) pure opportunity cost, because the time you invest reading that book won’t be available again, and (2) the information you consume will define who you are and how you behave.
The thing is that, going through that way, is just that, going though. It’s not the end. You go through that process to gather information and prepare yourself to develop your own voice. And here’s where most people misunderstand this. They are in the 99% for a reason. And you might fail. Getting into the 1% club is not an easy task, but it’s worth the pursue.
Otherwise, why would you ever bother if you don’t aim to be a Remarkable?
Learning a voice is easy, but developing yours takes guts. And that’s where being committed to be a professional makes the difference.