The virtue of persistence.
Success does not come overnight.
Contrary to what click-bait videos and social gurus would have you believe, overnight success stories are a myth. No one gets where they are overnight. Most people who will tell you differently are trying to sell you something. And for most people that are wildly successful, their success came only after many failures. The key is to keep going.
The important thing about lasting long-term success is to learn skills along the way. As you grow, learn and collect skills, you put yourself in a position to capitalize when the opportunity presents itself.
In his article Six Figures in 6 Days designer Traf talks about how it took him seven years to achieve what looked to many like an overnight success. He writes,
Sure, it took me 6 days to amass 3,626 sales for a total of $101,528, but like any overnight success, it was years in the making. In my case, about 7 years.
I encourage you to read his article, as it gives a good perspective on the work that goes into what we assume is an overnight success.
When I initially started training to run my first marathon, I would get up at 6:00am every morning for my daily run before work. There was something so serene and reflective about being the only person out at that time. Just as dawn was breaking. The first day was hard, and the second day was hard, but day after day it became easier. I slowly became faster and my stamina grew. After a few months of training, I ran the Chicago marathon. I finished with a time of well over five hours. Which was great, my only goal was to finish.
I absolutely fell in love with it. So I kept running consistently and the next year I ran it again, that time I shaved over an hour off of my previous years time. With each run my confidence grew as did my conditioning. I had put in the work, so it became easier to jump back into training when race time came around. The following year I decided to run in the Des Moines marathon. I finished with a time of 3:29:15. I would never have been able to run a marathon in that time if it were not for the countless hours and thousands of miles of training that had come before it.
If you want to reach your goals it helps to be persistent. Your persistence will payoff not just in success. Which you will look easy to those on the outside. But you will gain skills and experience along the way that compound in profound ways. Leading to more fulfilling work and greater returns for your effort. Here are some ways I have found to stay persistent in working towards a goal.
Get excited and stay excited.
To maintain quality work as you move towards your goals, you need to be excited about the work you are creating. Being excited about your work isn’t so much of a prerequisite as it is a by-product. When you find the thing that drives you to create, fills you with inspiration, and energizes you every day, it is hard to stop working. If your current work does not excite you, there is a good chance you working on the wrong project.
Focus on efficiency over structure.
When talking about striking in MMA, it is said that precision beats powers and timing beats speed. In the same way, when working towards your goals, efficient work beats hard work, and sustainable action beats big moves. if you can find a working routine that is sustainable over time, the rewards will be far greater than working so hard that you burnout and need to take a break from your project. Momentum can be very hard to gain and easy to lose. Especially when starting something new.
Focus on the short term, while working towards the long term.
For me, it is easy to become distracted by long-term goals. I find that I am much happier and more content when I put those out of my mind and focus solely on the task at hand. Not only does it ground me to the present, but I find that it furthers my ultimate goal of creating quality work. Think about each task you work on as a unique stone block you will need to build a pyramid. Each block requires your full attention so it will be precise, perfect, and unique so it fits exactly right. The act of stacking each block on the next is your work ethic, if you do not give each block your full attention, they will not fit together to create the finished pyramid and allow you to reach the summit. Keep the pyramid in the back of your mind, but focus your energy on creating beautiful blocks.
For all of you who are working towards goals right now, keep going! Stay persistent and your hard work will payoff.
Thanks for reading,
Here is a good thing to read this week.
How to Read Intelligently and Write a Great Essay: Robert Frost’s Letter of Advice to His Young Daughter. By Maria Popova