Ep. #18 – Overnight Success Doesn’t Exist


“Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.”

– Jon Acuff – Author of Quitter and Start

In This Episode

You’re going to be reminded that success is a process of trying, failing, trying, failing, trying and failing again.  It’s through this process that we achieve success, not in spite of it. Just like with bodybuilding, as I mentioned in Episode 16, it’s through that effort and failure that we become the success we dream of being. Success never happens overnight, but to those who only pay attention to the beginning and the end, it can seem that way.

Lotteries, American Idol, Liposuction

One hundred years ago, nothing came quickly. Dinner was grown on the farm, cooking in a wood burning stove and served up at the family table. Today, it’s often eaten on the road after hitting up a drive-thru. We live in a world of instant gratification. While this technology is great, we can’t let it condition us to seek everything right now. The best things in life (even food) don’t come quickly.

After our fair share of fast food, most of us are looking for fast weight loss and fitness as well.  Turn on the TV late at night and you’ll see commercials for diet pills that “let you eat all your favorite fast foods and still lose weight” and infomercials for a workout contraption which will give you six-pack abs with only 5 minutes of effort each day.

When it comes to careers and finances, we live in a world where we audition on a TV show and within a couple of months, you’re signing a million dollar record contract and going on a world tour.  For those without any musical talent, it’s all about watching those little ping pong balls come down the shoot on Wednesday and Saturday night, comparing them to the “Quick Pick” (we don’t even have time to pick our own lottery numbers) sheet we have in front of us.  If all goes well, we’re living the life of our dreams.

Stop Playing the Lottery

Do yourself a huge favor, stop playing the lottery.  Don’t even seek that out as an option.  It is born out of an attitude that says “I don’t have what it takes to create something worth millions of dollars.” Even worse, it’s driven by a desire to be rewarded greatly for doing absolutely nothing. In the words of Wallace Wattles in his classic book “The Science of Getting Rich“:

“Give every man more in use value than you take from him in cash value; then you are adding to the life of the world by every business transaction.”

When you play the lottery, you’re giving nothing of value and hoping to be compensated greatly for it.  It creates a mindset which sets an unrealistic expectation of overnight success.  This mindset is what will frustrate you in your business ventures. Every week you do the work and don’t get rewarded with the “jackpot” you end up feeling cheated and discouraged.

Focus on the Value Not the Reward

We all have a desire to be rewarded for our work, and in a world where we’re conditioned to see material compensation as our only or ultimate reward, we become frustrated.  Focus on the value you create for others and you’ll be rewarded daily when it is put into use.  Do this enough times and the material rewards will take care of themselves.

Today, don’t look at what you’re going to be rewarded for your work, look at how others will be rewarded for your work.  Find satisfaction in that and learn to find joy in seeing others happy.  I realize this is difficult when you have the mortgage due and your kid needs braces, but it’s the true secret to happiness and ultimately, to great material success (but don’t do it for that reason).


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About the Author

A formerly frustrated entrepreneur who has learned how to go from dreamer to doer to done. I help you discover your purpose, explore your psyche, maximise your productivity, and grow your platform so you can bring your unique gift to the world and live the life you deserve.