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Novelty and Quality

January 25, 2018

Author: Bianca Yang
Email: ipacifics@gmail.com

Too often, in the race to get into a good college, I hear that students should be loading their plates with extracurriculars. They say things like “you need ¼ extracurriculars, ½ good grades, ¼ miscellaneous qualities to stand out on a application”, as though applying to college is like meal planning. This advice is for the average or mediocre. The excellent know that skill trumps passion. The excellent know that they will be successful if they can rise above the crowd in ability.

So, don’t ever substitute novelty for quality. Jumping around will only take you so far, especially if you’re not being purposeful.

There are two stages in this journey to achieving success. One is where you don’t know what you want to be successful in and you are searching for that thing or those several things which excite you. The other is where you have an objective and stepping stones to those objective which you need to follow. Most people should be in that searching phase but are either floating around (飄)aimlessly or have given up on their search because they ran out of time or money. The rest are the people we look up to because they are driven, focused, and successful. You can see it in their eyes and their every action. They breathe and live purposeful action. Even when they are set back, they are so viscerally moved to continue fighting that they still radiate awesomeness.

For those that are still searching, truly apply yourself to an activity you want to evaluate. It will take at minimum six months to get decently good at anything, and this assumes regular practice. If you are inconsistent or aren’t practicing at least three to four times a week, you need to extend your evaluation period. To be safe, you should work through at least a year of sustained effort to determine whether you should continue. Whether you should continue depends both on your ability and on your attitude towards that activity. People can only judge you on your actions. Whether you like the activity is your problem only. I am assuming these activities are mostly done to acquire skills you’d like to make a living with. If you’re good, people will hire you. It’s just that simple. (Good means good technically and being a good person.)

If you think this view of the world is cruel, how would you evaluate people if you were a hiring manager? Your objective is to hire people who will produce more than they cost the company. Who are those people? The ones who are skilled in their domain and are skilled in creating useful products with their teammates.

Novelty can help get someone’s eye, but don’t put some non sequitur like “expert basket weaver” if you’re applying to manufacture computer mice. You must demonstrate novelty within the skill set the employer is looking for or could potentially be looking for.