Today we live in an age of immediate gratification. So many people are looking for an easy fix to almost everything.
Just the other day I heard of a recent study that concluded our attention span has dropped to 8 seconds from just over 12 seconds back in the year 2000. That’s a pretty big change in a relatively short amount of time. What this means is that we now have a shorter attention span than goldfish!
Like many of the “studies” out there, we have to take these findings with a massive grain of salt. Nevertheless, I am sure most of us would agree that the times we live in right now are fast-paced and the quest for the ultimate shortcut to success can be found all over Facebook and the internet at large.
There are countless ads and programs claiming “6 months to 6 figures” or “build your million-dollar business part-time while sipping Coronas on the beach!”
Although I do agree that in some circumstances people do achieve a crazy amount of overnight success and hit it BIG in a relatively short amount of time, that is the exception, not the rule.
To me, the real problem is that the idea of overnight success is expected, and many people think that when they jump into a new venture they will be the one to have immediate overnight success.
Don’t get me wrong; I am not saying it’s impossible, I am only saying that the expectation you will blow up overnight with minimal effort is like planning your retirement years on winning $10M in the lotto.
At the end of the day, someone does win the lotto but there are millions more buying tickets than winning. Why not work your butt off and create your own lotto winnings?
There is a reason not everyone has a million-dollar business, a Grammy or a professional sports career. It takes real work and hustle, often for years before any sort of reward even starts to show up.
Please understand that as I sit here writing this, I certainly don’t have all the answers and am the first to admit my guilt as someone who expected, and even felt entitled to overnight success.
For years I jumped from one opportunity to the next seeking those “6 figures in 6 months!” I would put in a bit of effort and expect my “big break.” But the thing is, that big break doesn’t come without putting in the effort to create it. And often, the “big break” can be disguised as the complete opposite.
Recently I was listening to a recording of Napoleon Hill’s “The Law of Success” and also his insanely popular book “Think and Grow Rich” which by 2015 had sold 100M copies! These two works are considered to be among the most influential publications in the personal growth category and will be studied for generations to come. If you’re unfamiliar with Napoleon Hill, I recommend you look into him and into his books.
In the recording, Napoleon was talking about the experience he had when interviewing Andrew Carnegie in 1908.
At that time, Andrew Carnegie was considered to be one of the most powerful and richest men in the world. During the interview, Mr. Carnegie induced Napoleon Hill to spend the next 20 years of his life organizing the first philosophy of personal achievement. It was Mr. Carnegie’s vision to organize and create a formula for success that the common man could learn and study to achieve his desires.
He wanted Napoleon to interview the greatest and most successful people that were living. People like Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell and many more of the most influential people of all time.
Now you may be thinking that for Napoleon Hill this was his ticket to fame and fortune. The richest most powerful man in the world is asking him to spend the next phase of his life interviewing the most powerful and successful people in the world. This is a MASSIVE opportunity!
Yes, it was a massive opportunity; however, Mr. Carnegie was asking Napoleon to do it for FREE!
Wait, what? For free?
Yes, the richest man in the world asked Napoleon to commit to a 20-year project with no guarantee of wages or success, for free! Andrew Carnegie would only help facilitate the introductions, nothing more.
Stop for a moment and think about your journey to success, would you be willing to commit to a 20-year project with no guarantee of success? Would you even be willing to commit to a 7-day project with no guarantee of success?
Speaking personally, I know that I would have an incredibly hard time determining what I would do if faced with the choice Napoleon Hill was faced with back in 1908.
If we think of our own pursuits, especially our entrepreneurial pursuits, this is the journey of an entrepreneur. That unwavering willingness to commit to something greater than ourselves, without any guarantee that anything tangible will come from it.
It is this commitment to building and creating something special, that makes the likelihood of success possible. Yes, there will always be those rare cases where someone explodes their business overnight, but the reality is that most things worth building are built in the shadows and then only “seem” to happen overnight.
I encourage you to spend a bit of time looking into the success of those you admire most and learn what their journey was like. Most likely you will find years of struggles and attempts that finally lead to something that “worked.” The only way to have a breakthrough is to keep putting in the work. The only failure is in giving up!