Why showing up and steadily moving forward is a solid approach to lasting achievements.
Yesterday, I was listening to a well-known venture capitalist talk about startups. The discussion revolved around how apps either gained traction or they didn’t. The startup was a hit or it would fail, no gray area. Without significant traction (millions of users, monetization), they would pull out their money move on, no hard feelings.
Sadly, this is how a lot of businesses work today. People expect instant success and are quickly discouraged if they don’t achieve it. I wonder how Leonardo da Vinci would’ve operated in this environment?
Da Vinci didn’t get his first big break until he was 46. That’s more like 75 in today’s years. But what we know now is that he left behind a tremendous body of work in the years leading up to that big break.
Turns out he had a lot of ideas and unfinished projects like helicopters and power tools hundreds of years ahead of their time. It didn’t matter that these things weren’t instantly successful. Leonardo da Vinci was playing the Long Game.
One of my favorite sayings is the “ten-year overnight success.” It demonstrates that most of the overnight successes we’ve heard about throughout history were really decades in the making. It’s rooted in patience, taking your time, moving forward in a determined manner to do things in small bites that add up to something much larger over a lifetime.
These small bites, or experiments as I like to call them, are an important part of life. For an entrepreneur, this could mean not wasting even a second chasing venture capital. Spend that time finding out what works, making your product or service something truly innovative. If you do this right, you won’t need to chase anything.
When you look back on things that didn’t work out as experiments, as something you learned from, then there will be fewer regrets. This could be anything, a side project, a small business, an e-book. Even that time in the crappy job wasn’t wasted if you learned something and it helped you along your journey.
So, erase any imaginary finish line in your head like early retirement, get out that sketchpad, and start planning out your next big life experiment.
More Reading on The Long Game. Mastery by Robert Greene.