Overnight Success is Almost Never Achieved Overnight

The month being January, and this being the start of yet another year, we feel quite at home with goal setting, weighing ambitions, reminiscing and reflecting back. It seems as though the holiday break connects us to what is truly important, and somehow, on some level, we feel strangely compelled to digging deeper than usual. And when this becomes everyone’s cup of tea, it is easier to shun off the noise.

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I for one am far from being an exception. I love the alone time, I love the stop-recalibrate-continue moments whenever they occur in my life. It is sweet when they come and you have to change something, sweeter still when you are embracing them out of pure intention of becoming better, becoming more, improving a model which is not necessarily broken sort to speak.

This year, I’m feeling confident enough to share something that came as a realization derived from past experience, and something that, looking back now, makes the most sense out of everything I’ve put together under the tag of personal development.

Overnight success takes couple of years

I’m lucky enough to have laid down the foundation of what I hope will be my craft, my profession and my ever growing passion so early. Overnight success being mythologized as it is, I’m aware of how far down the road I’ll have to go before I see it.

But another realization is equally clear, and excites me more than the prospect of success itself – those years which are the crucial ingredient from the overnight-success-recipe, well, it feels good when you realize that you are living them right now.

Being almost obsessively passionate about applying reverse engineering in personal development, I came to the realization that most of my role models, most of the people I try to duplicate in terms of achievement, fit in into this model. They did something for so long, or they did something with so much passion, that it created the opportunity for overnight success.

It’s all relative(ly easy)

Pardon my attempts to be creative; it is 1 AM as I write this, so I hope you understand. The truth of the matter is, regardless of how far out there it sounds when someone says it, achieving whatever it is that you want to achieve is fairly easy.

Doing something until you nail it is not going to be my rhetoric of choice here, so don’t worry, I’m not trying to sell you some mantras.

But if you consider the fact that every success you attained came out of small chunks of things that seemed relatively easy at the time of doing them, it starts to make sense.

Think about it. This is how it dawned on me;

I asked myself what were the things that I have done ‘right’ and by doing so have opened up opportunity for more good things to happen. It turns out that majority of them were things I can do even now If I decide to put this on a hold; something that I can do within two minutes of now, something small.

Doing the UX planning for most of my sites and projects will not require hours upon hours of surgeon-like concentration. Same goes for making a phone call, putting up together some content, answering mails, sketching a new product or an idea, going over the technicalities… On the opposing end of the spectrum the same applies – in my personal life, all the good things that happened hardly ever required more than one hour of my energy.

Telling someone how much he means to you, remembering to send out a birthday card, investing twenty minutes in order to arrange a great weekend, or convincing your grandpa who is ninety to take him on a walk and show him the town he nearly have forgotten.

Your personal development achievements fit perfectly into this as well.

Being organized and getting things done sometimes requires only a ten seconds decision that you have to go to bed now and set the alarm 15 minutes earlier; that in pursuit of improving your fitness, you have to put the shorts, take out the yoga mat, and dedicate half an hour of your time to sweat some.

Small changes lead towards big results

It is beyond a shadow of a doubt that success is never some eureka moment. It’s not the ringing of an alarm, but rather the steady melody which takes this crescendo towards the very end. A romance never holds on to one huge gesture, the same way success never happens by doing one breathtakingly good thing out of the blue. It rather relies on many small decisions over a year, as much as romance relies on many small gestures over a longer period in time.

You change the arc now at the very beginning, and take my word for it that this time next year you will be amazed by the results. Life happens one day at a time, and so does change, success, and true and profound happiness.

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