I recently read an article by a popular blogger in a reputable magazine on “How to become an overnight success.” The premise was that it once took years to become a success. Now, according to the article, a new product or service can become a success overnight. This writer is in good company; there is a blog on every corner with a guide to instant fame and riches.
I was appalled by the article. So appalled, in fact, that I confronted the man about it. While I agree that ideas travel faster in our world of technology, I think his premise is a lie. Let me explain.
If I shoot a great cat video, it can go viral. My video may spread across the internet in a matter of days. But does that make me a “success?” I don’t think so. Does it create a lasting brand? Of course not. Even if I create an app and sell it to Google, and make a lot of money, does that make me a success? I don’t really think so! (Nor is anything worth Google’s attention created “overnight.”)
The truth is that it takes sweat and blood to build a lasting company, brand, or anything else deserving the title “success.” The danger of spreading the instant-success-myth is that it discourages people. “What if I’m not a success overnight? What did I do wrong?” Nothing! Nobody is a success overnight! Ask any recipient of a lifetime achievement award in any industry, and he or she will tell you some version of what Dave Ramsey says about his company Lampo Group: “We spent 20 years in the trenches, and THEN we became an overnight success.” Any other outlook on life will only end in tears.