Modesty and hubris

When you're seeking to succeed with your art, it's helpful to see how those before you have done it. And so the conference was invented. The ones where recently successful internet entrepreneurs tell their stories are particularly popular right now, but you can certainly find designers, novelists and others that are generous enough to talk about how they succeeded.

Some speakers at these events are brimming with false modesty. "I'm incredibly successful and happy, it happened really fast and I have no idea what I'm doing." The appeal here is the same that works for the lottery. Someone has to win, it might as well be you, it's easy, buy a ticket.

Some speakers, on the other hand, bring false hubris to the table. "This is incredibly difficult, I worked harder than you can imagine, and only a perfect storm of effort and connections that were created directly by me led to this moment."

The truth, of course, is a combination of both. "I worked really hard, back against the wall, thinking I was going to fail, almost did, and I got lucky." And that's like hearing that there's a lottery and the tickets are very expensive.

But it's true.