Overnight Success is A Myth

I start early and I stay late, day after day, year after year... It took me 17 years and 114 days to become an overnight success.

Lionel Messi

Most people are eager to succeed. Many times, however, they do not know exactly what success means or how to pursue it.

Reality or Myth

Everyone loves an overnight success story. Day by day we hear tales of passionate entrepreneurs who find instant wealth, fame, and success. When looking at successful companies with a twinge of jealousy, we wonder why we can’t do the same. “This could be me right now. I had a similar idea, but they seem to have it all figured out so fast. Damn it!”

The truth is, however, that easy overnight success is a myth. The only people that on the surface might achieve overnight success are lottery winners. But that’s not success, that’s complete luck, isn’t it?

 

Reality is a little different. The road to success is long, twisty, and full of hardship, and overnight success usually comes after someone has spent years grinding away on their business. Long hours, days, nights, weekends, and holidays building it up bit by bit. Small successes and small failures, medium successes and medium failures. They had and lost many opportunities, yet they kept grinding no matter what. 

Then one day another opportunity appears, just the right one, and this one turns out to be the best… Things start improving exponentially, and new changes are implemented. Before you know it, they’re a success!

Don’t Believe in Overnight Success

Although motivational in the short term, overnight success stories can be demotivating in the long term. People start down a path unaware how hard that path might be. When things don’t work out right away, as they did for that other person/business, they become discouraged and depressed.

They ask themselves why they weren’t instantly successful like the people in the press. Are they not good enough, not smart enough? Are they a failure?

 

No. They aren’t. Buuut…

 

You’ll hear a lot about IPOs, acquisitions, awards, and net worth. You won’t hear so much about late nights, mistakes, meltdowns, and self-doubt. That’s funny because there is definitely more of the latter than the former, and having such a one-sided display of what it takes for these people to succeed is misleading. 

Similar things happen on social media. Influencers often filter their lives to show only the highlights of it. They don’t include long queues for photos at tourist hotspots, or late nights spent photo editing while sitting at the airport third time this month.

Success is Like Bamboo

Success is like bamboo. In case you didn’t know, bamboo is one of the fastest-growing plants in the world. Some species can grow a massive 89cm per day, and some can sprout 18m in just 5 weeks. Bamboo forests seemingly replenish themselves overnight. But just like an overnight success, this too is an illusion.

You see, bamboo roots grow steadily for 3 to 5 years before they ever push a cane aboveground. Under the soil, bamboo develops a complex root system strong enough to support rapid growth. Once the roots are in place, it shifts its resources to growing the cane.

Becoming successful is the same. Luis E. Romero said it best:

What most people call overnight success is actually the market suddenly realizing the value of a great product or service that had been kept in obscurity for too long while its creators refused to give up.

It’s Time to Wake Up and Accept Reality

The road to success is long and hard. If you receive an email or social media invite saying success is around the corner if you just sign up for some dubious business opportunity, you’ll be quickly disappointed and empty-pocketed. 

I know people who have been bouncing from one pyramid scheme to another, from one online millionaire club to another, from one proven gym/diet plan to another, and never finding success. 

If you look for shortcuts in life, you’ll be very disappointed at its end. And the only thing shortcuts may bring is for you to end up trapped in ethically questionable practices that will lead to failure, shame, or debt. 

Here is the golden advice: The only way to hack life is by working hard. So simple, yet so difficult.

Success comes when you decide to stop living passively. It comes when you abandon the “everything will work out” mentality. It comes when you stop watching Netflix and start creating your own opportunities.

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11 Tips to Get Real Success

  1. Success requires hard work, courage, humility, patience, learning, resilience, talent, teamwork, and a little more hard work.
  2. Any opportunity that promises to circumvent any of the above is most likely a scam
  3. Emails, social media invites, and online millionaire’s clubs from strangers are probably scams
  4. The perfect work-life balance may be something you deserve, but it can also keep you from realizing your full potential (and dreams). 
  5. Be good at what you do. And by that, I mean damn good. Successful people strive for greatness, not mediocrity. Push yourself and your team to ensure you reach your full potential. 
  6. Always do business only under a sound legal framework to protect each business partner and the relationship among them.
  7. Doing business with people you’ve never met in person is most likely a very stupid idea.
  8. Expect to fail and take each failure as a learning opportunity that can help you pivot to an even better idea.
  9. Follow your interests because someday you may come up with an idea that can turn it into a business.
  10. Learn to be patient. Most likely, your overnight success story will take a long, long time.

11. No matter how long it takes to become successful, make the journey fun.

Videos and pictures of people working out, looking beautiful, and driving fancy cars are not evidence of success. Always remember it costs less than $500 to look like a million bucks.

Luis E. Romero

 

Building anything worth having takes time, be it business, love, or health. 

In most cases, the changes are incremental – even invisible. But one day, those little changes will amount to something greater, and everyone will point at you and say, “Look at that overnight success!”



Do you still believe in overnight success? 

 

Cheers!

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