A Penny That Doubles in Value Every Day
“Most people knock on the door of their dreams once, then run away before anyone has a chance to open to door. But if you keep knocking, persistently and endlessly, eventually the door will open.” -Les Brown
You are given a choice. Either receive $1 million dollars right now, or a penny that doubles in value every day for a month.
Which would you choose?
Most of society picks the $1 million up front. They want success here, now —they don’t have the patience or poise to pass on a good opportunity now for a great opportunity later.
But the success of now is nothing compared to what it could be.
How much would you receive if you chose the penny that doubles in value?
You would have $10.7 million dollars by the end of the month.
Success happens at the end.
Small Things Become Big Things
“Success comes through sustained effort.” -Todd Brison
The first few days and weeks with that penny aren’t that pleasant.
Days go by. Two cents turns into 4 cents. 4 into 8 cents. 8 into 16. 16 cents into just over a quarter.
Weeks go by. While everyone else is blissfully spending their $1 million, your $20.48 doubled into a whopping $40.96. Changes are small, incremental, and hardly noticeable at times. It feels like you’re making no progress at all.
But then, something starts to happen.
After several weeks, you pass your first $1,000 mark. A few days later, the $10,000 mark. Then $20k. Then $40k.
By the last day, your $5 million dollars doubles into over $10 million.
Small things become big things.
Contrary to what we may hear, there is no shortcut to success. There is only slow, deliberate, smart decisions that propel you just a little further, every day.
The unsexy but powerful truth about success is that it takes a long damned time.
In the words of Benjamin P. Hardy:
“Success is 20 steps in one direction instead of 1 step in 20 directions.”
Most people won’t last on their journey towards achieving true success. Why? Because they are unwilling to put in slow, unsexy work, every day. They are unwilling to continue without seeing instant results.
But this is exactly what must happen to achieve true success.
A Parable of 4 Monks
The following is an excerpt from Gene Yang’s masterful graphic novel, American Born Chinese.
In all of antiquity, only four monks ever achieved legendary status.
The first was Chi Dao, who focused so singularly on his meditations that his body became as stone.
The second was Jing Sze, who fasted for fourteen months, smirking in the face of death for the last three.
The third was Jiang Tao, whose sermons were of such eloquence that even the bamboo wept in repentance.
The fourth was Wong Lai-Tsao, who was rather unremarkable by all accounts.
Wong Lai-Tsao could not meditate for more than 20 minutes without developing an itch on his seat. If he fasted for more than half a day, he would faint. When he preached, he did not make sense.
But every morning Wong Lai-Tsao would rise with the sun, gather fruit in a nearby orchard, and share it with the vagrants who lived just outside town.
In the afternoon, he would dress their wounds. And in the evening he would return home just as the sun was setting.
Wong Lai-Tsao did this faithfully day after day, year after year.
The above parable describes the path we all must walk through to achieve success and purpose.
At times, it may seem like our work is beneath us. It’s exhausting, boring, thankless, and may even appear pointless. For a long time, you toil in your work, with nothing to show for it.
Meanwhile, others receive recognition and accolades and praise for how far they’ve come. They’re famous, loved, and admired by all their vast followers. You wish you were there already.
This is the point where most of society stops. It is rare to continue on in these circumstances.
But if you simply continue — working every day, paying the price every day — you will begin to achieve true, lasting success.
Your story will look differently than others before you who have succeeded. You will not share the story of J.K. Rowling, Seth Godin, or Arianna Huffington. Actually, most of your story will be “unremarkable” for a time.
And it will take time.
But once you have put in the work, every day for what seems like an eternity…you will achieve true success.
Remember: better true success later than fleeting success now.
Long-term consistency beats short-term intensity.” -Bruce Lee
For every week you continue, dozens of other people quit.
Success is hard. People quit all the time in favor of the easier road. The majority settle, and forfeit their chances of ever achieving true success. The road is “too hard,” which they even begin to equate with “impossible.”
The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark. -Michelangelo
Pay the price. Work hard, every single day. Remove negative influences and fill your life with positive, productive behaviors.
One day, that penny will become $10,000,000 dollars.
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