When fast is not fast enough
By DANIEL LEE
We are living in a world of high speed Internet, medical breakthroughs, self-made millionaires and technological advancement in almost every field imaginable. Great advancements have allowed so many of us to achieve what we set our minds to.
Just over a decade ago, before the existence of YouTube, many aspiring musicians had to go through conventional record labels to get a chance of bringing their music to the world.
Now, YouTube stars are among the most influential personalities in the entertainment industry.
With everything moving at a greater pace, we see a change of pace in our lives too. We want faster cars, faster internet speeds, faster computers, and so on. When we look at Forbes’ list of 30 under 30, we are inspired to achieve the success that they have achieved too – but we want to achieve success in a shorter time.
There is no overnight success
“It took me 17 years and 114 days to become an overnight success.” – Lionel Messi
Anyone who dreams of being an overnight success will likely find themselves greatly disappointed. Most people look at the lives of successful people and aspire to achieve success just like they do. However, not many can fully understand the amount of time, hard work and perseverance they put into making their success a reality, until they are required to do the same.
Leonardo da Vinci, one of the most famous Renaissance painters, was considered a genius of his time. He painted some of the most iconic paintings of all time, namely The Last Supper, and the Mona Lisa. He was also known for his great knowledge and contributions to science and engineering.
What most people do not know is that The Last Supper, one of his first iconic masterpieces, was only completed when da Vinci was 46. Arguably the most famous painting of all time, the Mona Lisa, was finished when he was 65.
Da Vinci, wasn’t the only one to find success through perseverance. Marie Curie spent seven years in poverty in Paris while she studied and researched radioactivity. Colonel Sanders didn’t make his first break until the age of 65 with the now famous KFC brand. Nelson Mandela spent his youth fighting for peace and equality, and 27 years in prison, before becoming the President of South Africa.
There is no such thing as an overnight success. Even those who achieved great success when young had to go through a painstaking process of learning, overcoming setbacks and eventually making their dream a reality.
Make the most out of your difficult years
That being said, it does not mean that we can only achieve success after decades of trying, or that achieving success at a young age is any less meaningful. It just means that all of us need to go through a period of preparation, learning, growth and overcoming challenges before we can actually achieve our goals – and this can sometimes take years.
These periods of time are what some call the “difficult years”. All successful people, young and old, go through these difficult years. It is an inevitable part of achieving any goal.
Even when things were not going so well for da Vinci and he wasn’t getting the big gigs as an artist, he kept on drawing, sketching, studying, and prototyping. He kept improving himself even though he had all the reasons to give up.
In our journey to success, we are bound to meet setbacks and challenges. Some of these setbacks can demotivate us from doing anything, while some challenges simply do not allow us to move forward. We must realise, however, that we can make the most out of our difficult years.
Take each setback as feedback to improve, and every challenge and opportunity to grow. When things don’t go as planned, keep making the most out of your time and those things can add up to the very reasons for your success.
Set your own pace
“In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” – Abraham Lincoln
It’s easy to get caught up with meeting the standards of people and society around us, to the point we miss out on the most important things in life. In the fast-paced world we are living in, it’s very important to take time to pause, breathe and set your own pace.
Just like marathon runners, some people move at a faster pace while others keep steady at a more comfortable pace. Many marathoners run to compete, but many more run marathons with the goal of going the distance.
Achieving success in life is very much like running marathon, such that the goal is to achieve what you set your mind to. In order to achieve that, we need to do the necessary preparations and go through the challenges that will eventually lead us to success.
So, the next time you come across a success story, look beyond that person’s achievements. Find your inspiration instead in the journey that the person had to go through to get to where they are today.
Daniel Lee is a part of the Leaderonomics Youth team. Born with brittle bones, he didn’t allow his disability to stop him. He is a wheelchair marathoner, sitting volleyball player and a person dedicated to nurturing leaders of the future. He believes it’s not how you start but how you persevere throughout and end a race that count the most. Write in to give your views at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more Starting Young articles, click here.
Lay Hsuan is the content curator for Leaderonomics.com. She writes occasionally and is the caretaker for Leaderonomics social media channels. She is happiest when you leave comments on the website, or subscribe to Leader’s Digest, or share Leaderonomics content on social media.