Finding My Own oomph!

May 11, 2010 by  
Filed under Personal Development

I just started to read a very smart motivational book called “The Genius in All of Us” by David Shenk. I picked this book up to give myself a much needed boost for my work as a website publisher for

By looking at his background on the back of the book cover, David Shenk is not your typical motivation writer. He has been a correspondent for The Atlantic, National Geographic, The New York Times and The New Yorker. He is also the author of five other books.

Motivational gurus from Dale Carnegie, Tony Robbins, and most recently preacher/motivator Joel Osteen have promised to find access to hidden stores of genius within us all (and sometimes additional help from a higher power). Now here comes David Shenk with “The Genius in All of Us,” which argues that we have before us not a “talent scarcity” but a “ latent talent abundance.” Our problem “isn’t our inadequate genetic assets,” but “our inability, so far, to tap into what we already have.”

One of the main themes in this book (I have not finished the book yet), is simply practice, practice, practice. (and oh God, I can relate to this!) Whatever you wish to do well, Shenk writes, you must do over and over again.

Shenk describes the work of the psychologist Anders Ericsson, who states, “repeated attempts to reach beyond one’s current level,” often results in “frequent failures.” This is known as “deliberate practice,” and over time it can actually produce changes in the brain, making new heights of achievement possible.

Shenk is vague about how, exactly, this happens, but to his credit he doesn’t make it sound easy. “You have to want it and want it so bad you will never give up. You also have to want it so bad that you are ready to sacrifice time, money, sleep, friendships, even your reputation,” he writes. “You will have to adopt a particular lifestyle of ambition, not just for a few weeks or months but for years and years. You have to want it so bad that you are not only ready to fail, but you actually want to experience failure: revel in it, learn from it.”
I don’t agree with the part where he talks about sacrificing friendships and reputation (those are too important to me), but I get what he means here…work hard for your own genius, or as I would like to say, for your own oomph! (Am I over doing the oomph thing here?) I do agree with the part about experiencing failure, and to learn from it, and then pick your self up and move forward.

I can certainly relate to this concept, in regards to oomphTV. My talented and gifted partner Tammy 0’ Connor and I have worked a few years now on trying to get this project fueled, financed, and lifted off the ground.
oomph! has taken on different lives. First we worked to get oomph! off the ground as a TV series (along with another great gifted and talented partner Grady Candler) for PBS. After a few close corporate financing possibilities came and went, oomph! the public television series morphed into The concept and content remained basically the same. The difference is that we finally now have a home. And this new internet home might be the perfect fit due to the social engagement opportunities you can have on the internet that you can’t have with television.

Have we found our own “Genius?” I don’t know, but what I do know is working on this project has been a great deal of hard work and we have yet to find financing (except my own) On the other hand, we are starting to find a small, but engaged audience (finally) and that is success.
I have also been given the opportunity to work with the very best partners one could ever hope for. This project has also been a wonderful creative outlet. In addition, I have been given the opportunity to meet some of the most amazing people I have ever met in my life, due to the webisodes we have been producing. I am grateful for this project in more ways than one. I can say the process has been fruitful in many personal and creative ways.
Will we find the fuel and financing needed to take oomphTV to the next level? Oh yes, but, I’m sure, with more stumbles, failures, help from a higher power, and plain old hard work.

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2 Responses to “Finding My Own oomph!”
  1. Tammy O'Connor says:

    I’m going to re read this every time I need some inspiration! You are the BEST and WE WILL GET THERE!!!

  2. Sharon Houston says:

    I think my favorite comment about hard work came from Jack Kirk. He was the Dipsea Demon of the Dipsea race in Marin County, CA. (You can see his interview here on He said, “Hard work never hurt anybody, but trying to get out of hard work will put you in your grave before your time.” I think of this often. When I’m working really hard in my classroom with a group of challenging students I often feel hopeless and that there is nothing more I can do. It is very easy to think and believe that I can’t stretch any further, especially when to do so would require me to work even harder. I think of Jack Kirk and all the people who have much more challenging situations with which to deal. I also know that I will get old if I stop learning. Old is not something I am interested in being. So, I dig my heels in and figure out new ways to reach a child who some may consider an “impossible” child. In so doing, the child’s life improves and my capacity for joy increases. Hard work is a great thing. We are fortunate to be blessed with such opportunities.

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