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Hustle

June 17, 2009

Logan’s sixth grade math curriculum will rarely be theoretical, and it has already begun.  He sold his go-cart, logging the profits as the first line item on the 50skatekid balance sheet.  The second line item was an order of T-shirts. 

We drove down the road to Steel’s T’s, near our local skate park.  The proprietor looks a bit intimidating, unless you ride a Harley, but he’s really a teddy bear – active in the little league, and his mom helps out in the shop.  He, Logan and I discussed a few designs, picked one, negotiated a price, and placed the order.  A few days later, he called to say we could check the artwork in the morning, before he printed all 30 shirts. 

There was no problem getting Logan out of bed on that school day, and we found Steele in the basement of the shop, dragging white ink across a framed screen.  He corrected me as I explained to Logan how the silk-screen process works (they use metal screens now, not silk), while he added a few more layers of ink, drying it under a heating plate between coats.  I don’t think Logan heard a word of it, he was fairly quivering with anticipation over the vainglorious garment.  The shirt was still hot from the drying plate when he put it on. 

He took orders at school that day and brought the whole box of shirts in the next, and almost every day since then.  We’re down to a handful of shirts and just placed a second order.  The enterprise has given him a real sense of purpose, and I marvel at his relentless ambition.  I’ve met kids in his grade who are smarter, or more talented, but he can match them on hustle.  Natural gifts are handy, but they aren’t enough on their own. 

Successful writers will tell you that habit is more important than talent.  Successful inventors combine 1% inspiration with 99% perspiration. Successful Carnegie Hall performers (while certainly talented) got there through “practice, practice, practice.”  If Logan comes away from this year with only one thing, I want it to be the conviction that anything you can imagine can be achieved, if you’re willing to work for it.

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