Many people started off with many endeavours, be it doing Youtube videos, writing articles, trading in the stock market, saving money, going to the gym weekly etc. These are all good endeavours, and many people certainly may have results in the initial stage.
But putting in the effort and yielding results for a very short term is nothing to be proud of. Even a donkey can do that. Even I, who has lost 50,000 USD in the stock, forex and crypto market has also achieved initial small successes. Yet, being able to keep at it consistently takes skills, effort and sometimes experience (depending on what you do). It is easy to do a Youtube video once a week for a month, anyone can do that. But it is another thing if you have to do it once every week and keep at it for a year and even longer. 52 videos a year, 104 videos in 2 years, 156 videos in 3 years and so on. It is easy to earn some money in your first month of investing, but are you able to continue the success over the year? What if you made 9 successful short trades and on the 10th you got sunk all the way to the bottom? The end result may send you back to square 1 or even worse.
Are you able to go to the gym every week as planned? Or persist in writing an article every week? Or perhaps control your spending habits to a set amount every month? There are many things we want to do, but few are able to keep at it over the long term and make it into a habit, or at a higher level, a part of you. Many gave up quickly and never saw the success they set out to achieve.
We all have legitimate things to do – a day job, a family to take care of, our own rest and mental health cannot be neglected. Hence many endeavours by many people can only last for a short while. They are unable to carry on in the long term because of the other commitments they have. Yet it is because all these excuses are so valid and legitimate, that few can argue against that. Would your friend advise you to neglect your family for the pursuit of wealth? Would your family look down on you because you are taking care of your health rather than mindlessly chasing after money? No, any decent family or friend would not. But it is because of all these reasons people gave themselves, that they found legitimacy in not working for their goals. There can only be one result – you do not reap what you did not sow.
It is like running a marathon. Anyone can run 100m. But running 42km is considered a feat. That is why so few actually achieve success. You see people holding seminars teaching people the secrets of success. Why would these people openly share their ‘secret’ to success? Actually there is no secret at all. There may be certain small opportunities we may not yet know at that time, for example a certain stock or industry has a good potential, or that a certain business earns more money with a lower barrier of entry. But at the end of it, it all still boils down to hard work and the daily grind. That is why these successful people organise seminars and profit from it. They know that even if they show you the way, chances are you will not be able to persevere all the way till the end. They are not afraid that you know the ‘secrets’ because they know you will not do it consistently and persistently.
Balance is the key. While it may be understandable to have the seasonal busy period where you focus everything on your work, nobody is asking you to go to the extremes. Prioritise your tasks, allocate your time efficiently, manage expectations. Give yourself at least 7 hours of sleep each day at night (sleeping at 2300h is simply different from sleeping at 1400h), set certain dinner or weekend time with your family, take a day off when required. It is the marathon we are running. We need to pace ourselves, slowly but steadily going, and at the same time making sure everything else in our lives is set right and in order. We would not be able to work in peace and efficiently if our health and family is in a mess. Find time between everything to work on what you set out to do. Nobody is asking you to work every single minute you are awake or be a superhuman.
Plagarising the words of someone whom I forgot: People often overestimate what they can do in a day and underestimate what they can do in a lifetime. You need not achieve daily results, but simply working consistently throughout the years will get you somewhere.
While working hard alone is not enough, a combination of working smart and working hard is also not sufficient. If this is all it takes to achieve financial freedom, then there will be no more poor people under the sun. While many people think that they could persist, the lack of results over a long period in the initial stage is one thing that affects people’s confidence in the legitimacy of what they are doing. Am I doing it correctly? Will anything change if I continue doing this? Yes, we should continually reflect and refine what we are doing. But we should also give it time.
The graph above shows what success is like. During the initial stage, you spend a lot of effort and time. Despite this, the results you yield seems very limited and insignificant. Many people tried for some time and gave up, determining that what they were doing is not right. However, as you build your foundation, the results will slowly come in in increasing amounts as time goes by. Your work should yield results if done correctly. Note that I am not saying to stubbornly persist in your way of doing things. As mentioned above, we should keep trying, but also to reflect and refine so that we can improve. In short, do not give up easily unless there is a big change which overturns the premise on which you build your foundation on.
As you persist in working towards what you want, you will achieve a certain level of success. Granted we commoners and average people may not make it big like Warren Buffet or Bill Gates, but being better than average and achieving success befitting of us is certainly within reach.