I was just looking at my basic Twitter feed, and amidst the Salesforce and Mass Effect and election posts, there was a Promoted Tweet from the Wall Street Journal –
(I’m sure you’ve all seen the article in the journal, but I want to stress that it’s all conjecture.
My feelings journal?
Michael, he means the Wall Street Journal.
Oh. The Wall.)
– interviewing the CEO of Slack, and the first question they asked was “What is the first thing you do in the morning?”
It just got me thinking about causality, causation, correlation, all of those fun C words that are similar but different. (Connotatively speaking, but also concretely.)
I seem to see a lot of things like this. People want to measure success by common threads of habits, and while there is likely something to that – successful people tend to work hard, sure – it also contributes to imbalance of power.
Because here is the thing.
I work hard. Absolutely. I don’t even have time to update this blog so often anymore because my job keeps me busy. But I ALSO worked hard when I worked at Geek Squad, and most people would not want to interview me when I was in that job to capture the things that made me successful. Strictly speaking, at that point in time, most people would not have seen me as successful. The way people spoke to me when I had that job definitely made that clear.
I am not even close to being the first person to point this out, and I won’t be the last. But asking a white guy what he does in the morning, and correlating that to his success in the tech industry, just isn’t meaningful.
I honestly don’t know how he answered because I really didn’t care. Most of the answers are irrelevant. Because what they do in the morning isn’t what makes them successful.
A working single mother who isn’t leading a Fortune 500 company probably has more on her plate in the morning. If she made enough money, sure, she might meditate or read the paper or whatever, but she doesn’t. Her morning probably starts just as early, and maybe she makes lunch for her kids, and then she gets them ready for school, sees them off, and then goes to work. Or maybe she has to be at work so early that she can’t do those things for her kids.
Asking an already successful person who started life on Easy mode is like asking a native language speaker how they managed to get those pesky verb conjugations right. Sure they had to practice and learn, they probably made mistakes, but since most everyone around them was speaking the same language, it made it easier.
I don’t begrudge the guy his success. And I’m not implying he doesn’t work hard. I AM saying that morning routines mean less than I think people give them credit for, and I’m also saying that I am just really tired of seeing those things come up on my Twitter dashboard.