You have to set big, hairy, and audacious goals to do great things.
But setting the goals themselves is only the first part of the equation. If you want to do anything great, you have to learn the art of following through.
That’s where we slip — because taking action is scary. It takes tenacity to follow through on our goals and you need the audacity to set a huge scary goal down and tell the world you’re going to achieve it no matter what.
It takes guts to claim a piece of the pie for your own. But you know what else it takes, and a lot of it?
It takes patience. So much patience. It can take years of patience, or even a decade of grueling work before you start to reap big results from all the time and hard work you’ve put in, and it can be frustrating as hell.
The solution? Learn how to be more patient than everybody else and revel in the hard work, no matter what anyone else tells you to do. That’s the only way to reach your personal success.
There’s No Clear-Cut, Easy Way to Success
You’ve heard all the clichés. Rome wasn’t built in a day, it’s a marathon not a sprint, you need 10,000 hours to be great, etc.
None of that helps, though. Neither does telling you to be patient because you want it all to come true now.
Who wouldn’t want that, right?
But even when looking down the vast tunnel where the light at the end signifies your future success, you still wonder why despite your best efforts, it’s just not happening for you. It’s only human to wonder and beat ourselves up for not being successful yet, after all.
I don’t care what you’re doing. Working on a novel, building an audience, creating a body of work… it all takes time. But time is our greatest asset. We have lots of it, even though we squander a lot of it.
The question becomes how to best use the time we have to fuel our progress, rather than hinder it.
How do you use your time?
How do you try to be patient, despite your best efforts to rush the job?
Ten steps over ten days are better than 1,000 steps in one day without any follow up for a month. Going small has its advantages and you can build it into something big.
But going big right out of the gate? It’s only a recipe for disaster and a guaranteed way to burnout.
I used to think I should only write epic, long-form content. Stuff that was at least a thousand words but preferably two to three thousand words long. So I’d occasionally write, waiting for the spark of a bright idea to take hold of me that was worthy of an ‘epic’ post.
It didn’t take long for these huge expectations to become too much and drive me into an oblivion of not creating a damn thing for weeks and months to come. Which wasn’t good for anybody, especially my own self-confidence.
My own vision of success had crippled me into a state of non-creation, a state of perpetual writer’s block; I was stuck in a fog of my own doubts, completely lost with nowhere to go but forward.
But I didn’t want to move forward. I just wanted to stay right here, doing what I always did… even though the spark was all but extinguished.
Block Out the Noise and Quiet Your Mind
Everyone has their own ideas of how you should best do something. Whatever you’re doing, there are hundreds or thousands of books on it, regardless of the size of your niche. Even with the internet, there are blogs on every topic imaginable, either small, free blogs or self-hosted personal blogs or posts right here on Medium.
The problem is they often contradict each other because advice is a dime a dozen these days. But being patient will never change. Patience is a virtue, yes, but let me be clear — there’s a difference between patience and hesitation. Between going for it and waiting it out.
Being patient is accepting that great things take a long time to build. And hesitation is looking down the hole of what you’d have to do to get to where you want to be and stopping dead in your tracks. Patience is accepting that creating your best work is going to take a while, and living with that — not complaining about it and bemoaning your situation, but just putting your head down and doing the work regardless of the outcome it gives you.
If you’re not patient and don’t give yourself fully to the work, you’ll never get anywhere at all. And even if you do, you won’t be able to sustain enough forward momentum to keep going every day. That’s part of the reason why blogging almost every day is helpful because it forces me to keep going no matter what.
Because no matter how good I thought yesterday’s piece was and how bad today’s is, I keep going. That’s all any of us can do.
Without that persistent plodding forward, I’d be stuck. I’d never learn to be patient with the process and accept the results as they come.
Despite the cost it takes, unless you’re doing the necessary work to keep yourself going every day, you’re only dooming yourself to fail and never reach your dreams at all.
Remember that, so when someone questions why you’re not where they think you should be, you can safely ignore them. Because there is only doing the work, and not doing it. And when you’re doing it, nothing else really matters.
Weirdly enough, when you consistently do the work over time, magic will start to appear in your life. If you have the patience and the awareness to see it, that alone will be enough to keep you going for the rest of your life to come.
Thanks for reading! If you liked this, please give it a clap to help others see it too.
Blake Powell is a writer, dreamer, and doer. He is sharing his journey and his soul every day for 30 days in March, and he aims to inspire writers and creatives as he goes. If you’re looking to grow your audience and engagement on Medium, you can click here to join his free challenge today.