Note: This is a guest post by Sid Savara of SidSavara.com
Instant gratification isn’t fast enough for me
Everywhere you turn, the world is moving faster and we’re expecting things sooner. Think about how many times a day you hear or say something like this:
- I’ll need that ASAP.
- Can you FedEx that next-day please? How about same day?
- Two Big Macs to go please – and make it quick.
We live in a 24/7/365 world, learning how to fit 12 hours of work into 8 hours days – working smarter not harder, and we want everything now, now, now. Where we once said hold your head up, keep a positive attitude, we now say – can I get that sooner?
We are bombarded by commercials every day that ask us: Do you want to lose weight quickly? How about get rich fast? All this and more, just 19.95 plus shipping and handling, in 30 days guaranteed or your money back! And of course, the fine print: *Results not typical.
The fact is, there is no free lunch, and when it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
Overnight Success Rarely Happens Overnight
So often we think of people that are overnight successes, but the truth is many were laying the foundation for success their whole lives. Take Tim Ferris as an example – the 4 Hour Work Week author was an overnight phenomenon a year ago, and seemingly came out of nowhere. As he has related in interviews though, his overnight success was anything but. He pitched his book to 15 publishers, because 14 rejected him. His promotional campaign was virtually all grassroots: he went to conferences where bloggers were gathering, formed real friendships, and then asked if they would mind reviewing his book. The overnight success was months, if not years, in the making.
We like to imagine that the reason others succeed and we don’t is because they happened to be in the right place at the right time, and opportunity presented itself. While that may be true in some cases, more often than not those who succeed are people who have maintained a positive attitude and patience in the face of obstacles, and in spite of setbacks remained determined: preparing for the opportunity they knew would come.
Be Patient – And Prepare!
It is better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one than to have an opportunity and not be prepared.
Whitney Young, Jr.
A charming story that illustrates this point appears in Chicken Soup for the Soul – Living Your Dreams by Jack Canfield. The whole book is filled with inspiring stories and worth the read, but my favorite appears on page 230.
Canfield tells the story of Les Brown – a young, hungry wannabe disc jockey that was turned down week after week by the station manager. Finally, the station manager relented and hired him: as an errand boy, without pay. Undeterred, he believed in his dream, kept a positive attitude and in his room at night he practiced what it would be like to be on the air: what he would say, how to work the controls, his on air persona. He continued to believe in his dream, and had the patience, determination and positive attitude to remain at the station as an errand boy, knowing his opportunity would come. He hung out with the other DJs, absorbed their knowledge and learned everything he could about the controls and how they worked on the air.
One day a DJ got too drunk to continue. Any other person in his situation, working as an errand boy at the station, likely would have gone into the control room, perhaps announced the station would be off air for a little while, and continued working as an errand boy at the station – but not Les Brown. Les was prepared, knew his lines, and hungry to be on air. He grabbed his opportunity, and from the second he got his hands on the microphone knew what he was going to say and delivered. He kept a positive attitude in the face of adversity, and was able to make the most out of his opportunity because he was patient and ensured he would be in the right place at the right time. He wowed his station manager, family and the audience with his performance and went on to have a successful career in broadcasting.
The Slowness Movement
As an added bonus, you may enjoy Carl Honore’s talk at the TED conference in praise of the slowness movement. It’s where I first heard the Carrie Fisher quote that opened this article, and is a wonderful way to spend 20 minutes opening your mind to developing patience, and taking the time to enjoy the small pleasures in life.
Sid Savara, founder of the personal development and productivity site SidSavara.com, writes about improving your life, achieving your goals and finding more time for yourself. Check out Sid’s recent post about paying yourself first, by using your most productive hours to focus on your goals: More Important than Money – Paying Myself First With My Time
This article is part of October 2008 theme: Winning Attitude