We live in an era of instant gratification. Fast foods, fast information, fast communication, instant banking, instant diets, instant everything. We can’t escape it. And so we develop the mentality of instant expectation. Whatever we do has to yield results quickly.
Of course, we’re well aware of the road to success. The length is different for everyone, but I’ll guarantee you this: It’s not an instant journey.
Success in any endeavour, be it business, sport or living a healthy lifestyle, is ongoing and begins, as the Chinese say, with a single step. The trick is to keep walking, one baby step at a time. Except for a few cases, it’s impossible to see the end of the road when you begin. You just have the promise and the faith that it’s there and that you will get to it.
Assume you lived in a world free of GPS and Google Maps. Say there was no telephonic communication or television. Take yourself to a time when information did not travel as fast or as broadly as it does now. In this time, everything is slower. There are no automobiles, aircraft or trains. Say you lived in Cape Town and you’ve heard word of this City of Gold about a thousand kilometres to the north. You got the word of people who’ve been there or who’ve heard of this place from people who knew people who’ve been there. Would you have the courage to take them on their word and make the journey to this promised city?
No doubt you’ve heard of the pioneers who did just that. They headed off into unknown territory with nothing but a promise and a sense of direction.
In many ways, that’s the mentality you must adopt when embarked on your own long-term ventures. You, of course, have the advantage of being able to study the people who have taken similar routes, as well as finding people who can advise you, either through physical presence or via media (including books and the like). Such journeys do not provide you with instant gratification. There is no overnight weight-loss program that actually works long-term. There is no way you’re going to decide to win an Olympic Gold Medal and have it happen the next day. And, if you’ve been living in from paycheck to paycheck, you’re not going to change that situation overnight. All of it takes time.
There are certainly quickfixes on offer, in the form of lottery wins, miracle diet pills, buy-a-degree vendors, to name but a few, but none of them are a long term solution. If you’re not the type of person who can be successful without the quickfix, you’re going to very soon find yourself back in the same situation.
If you are walking through a desert searching for an oasis, the quickfixes could be likened to a crate of bottled water. It’s only going to get you so far. Still, it is important that you do have enough bottled water to get you through the entire journey. Be sure to plan your route, find out what you need, prepare yourself. Sometimes, it is a bit of trial and error. Depending on your venture, you need to figure out what works for you specifically. Fortunately, while you can’t see the end-goal, you can check that you’re still heading in the right direction. Learn how to read the compass specific to your journey and constantly check that you’re still heading toward your oasis.