Everyone is familiar with the idea of “Go Hard or Go Home” goals.

– Pushing ourselves into daily 5am workouts at the gym.

– Adopting extreme diets that promise rapid weight loss.

– Pulling all-nighters before an exam in a bid to cram in as much information as possible.

The appeal of achieving maximum progress in the shortest time possible is pretty powerful.

However, this approach often leads to quick burnout. It’s like a match being struck. The flame is bright for just a few seconds before it’s gone. And it’s about as logical as sprinting a marathon – it’s exhilarating and heart-poundingly fun at first, but soon, you’re exhausted and collapse just a few hundred metres into the race. While we like to think to a big one-time effort will leap us forward with amazing inventions like the iPhone or the electric vehicle. But the iPhone was in development for many years before its release. And the electric vehicle has been around in some form since the late 1820s! Sustainable, forward progress doesn’t usually come from these glorious bursts of intensity. Most goals require consistent, sustained effort over an extended period.

You don’t have to dig deep into the archives of unknown innovators to find examples of this. Jeff Bezos didn’t build Amazon into a global empire overnight. It took years of persistent effort, strategic planning, and a willingness to play the long game. Similarly, Warren Buffett’s investment success is rooted in his steadfast commitment to long-term strategies and his ability to see the bigger picture. These are stoic individuals with remarkable focus and ability to learn iteratively about what works, and have the stamina to keep doing it until it does.

And this is where the concept of delayed gratification is crucial. It’s not about moving slowly; it’s about finding a pace you can maintain. A pace that allows you to show up every day, put in the work, and trust in the power of small, incremental steps. As Warren Buffett has previously said, “The stock market is designed to transfer money from the Active to the Patient.” This principle applies not only to investing but to all areas of life and business. Again, you can see the stoicism in this approach.

The small, consistent actions we take daily are the ones that ultimately lead to significant, lasting change. Instead of sprinting and burning out, aim for a pace that you can keep up with. In Angela Duckworth’s book “Grit” she writes, “Enthusiasm is common. Endurance is rare.” It’s the endurance to keep going, even when progress seems slow, that separates the truly successful from the rest.

Grit. Stamina. Stoicism. Persistence. Resilience.

Not “manifestation” or magical thinking.

Let’s take the idea a bit further. Building a career or a business is much like constructing a house. You need a solid foundation, and that takes time. Just as you wouldn’t expect to build a house in a day, you shouldn’t expect to build a successful career or business overnight. The foundation consists of learning, building relationships, and developing a clear vision of where you want to go. It takes time. Just like the setting of a concrete slab under a house takes time.

And there’s more. Seeing the bigger picture and valuing the impact of collaboration are essential. No one achieves success in isolation. Steve Jobs, for example, emphasised the importance of teamwork, stating, “Great things in business are never done by one person; they’re done by a team of people.” Only by working together and leveraging each other’s strengths, can we achieve far more than we could alone. In other words, work hard, but don’t’ work alone.

Yet, we’re still human. In the rush to achieve quick success, it’s easy to overlook the importance of collaboration. After all, there’s always this part of us that loves to claim the credit and glory for our results. But time and again, you’ll find that the most successful business leaders understand the power of building a strong network. Take Richard Branson, for example. He attributes much of his success to his ability to build and maintain strong relationships. His collaborative approach has been instrumental in the growth of the Virgin Group.

Grit isn’t just persistence and learning to work together. It’s also about resilience. This is the secret sauce that allows us to navigate the inevitable challenges and setbacks that are going to come our way no matter how well we plan to avoid them. Sheryl Sandberg, former COO of Facebook, has spoken extensively about the importance of resilience, particularly in her book “Option B”. She talks at length about how facing adversity head-on and bouncing back is crucial for long-term success.

Remember, it’s the marathon, not the sprint, that wins the race. So, set aisde the idea of quick fixes and focus on building habits that you can sustain over the long haul. Your future self will thank you for it. Building a successful business or career takes time, patience, and persistence. It’s about showing up every day, putting in the work, and trusting that the small steps you take today will lead to big results in the future. And it doesn’t happen on it’s own. Your network, your connections and their own dedication to the same values you hold, will bring you benefits for a long time to come.

Trust the process.


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