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The Hemingway Snowflake Theory


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There are plenty of metaphors about very small things having a significant impact.

The plumber who knows where to tap, and gets paid a lot of money for that.

The one snowflake that sets off the avalanche.

The straw that breaks the camels back.

Even Hemingway talked about how people go bankrupt slowly, and then all at once.

All of these have a hidden idea of something slowly and continuously building below the surface.

And then one “event” makes all hell break loose.

But in reality, one straw can’t break a camel’s back.

(unless it’s a REALLY weak camel!)

One snowflake can’t cause an avalanche.

And before that one plumber can walk around and know EXACTLY where to tap, he’s got to spend a lot of time studying and practicing plumbing.

This CAN be a dangerous idea.

For example, somebody reads a book about the law of attraction.

And then they suddenly get rich.

And they THINK they got rich BECAUSE of the law of attraction book.

But in reality, they got rich because of the things they’d been doing for the past 10 or 15 years.

They just HAPPENED to read the law of attraction at the right time.

It’s kind of like the Chinese Olympic strategy.

How do you win a bunch of medals in the Olympics?

First, build a country with a BILLION people.

Out of a BILLION people, there’s bound to be a few gold medal athletes.

And of ALL the people who FINALLY find success, just by the laws of random probability, there are BOUND to be a few who JUST HAPPEN to read a book or a blog post about the law of attraction.

But that doesn’t CAUSE their success any more than if the plumber had listened to a radio show about the law of attraction on his way to the job.

Sure, he heard the show BEFORE he tapped the pipe in the right place.

But that show didn’t CAUSE him to KNOW what pipe to tap.

This is a common logical mistake.

Event A happens BEFORE event B.

And we assume that event A CAUSES B.

Whatever B is, it’s usually caused by a TON of things.

Most of which have been building for a LONG time.

The REAL question, is what, specifically, ARE those things?

Luckily, there are very common deep skills that underlie many specific surface structure skills.

So if you get started practicing today, you will significantly INCREASE the probability of a sudden “miraculous” success.

Everybody else will think that you just got lucky.

But YOU’LL know the truth.

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