We live in an everything-all-the-time-now-now-now society. From PPV and instant downloads to microwave meals and drive through restaurants to email, Twitter, Facebook and the web, we have the world, in a box, at our fingertips. Our children have been born into this culture. As adults we have grown up with the changes and adapted to the speed of now. But at what cost?
The instant high of a quick return is fantastic and makes you crave more. So you start cutting corners, making short-sighted decisions and forgetting about the long term.
Steven Pressfield, author of Gates of Fire and The War of Art, writes “the antidote to these scattering influences is tough-mindedness.” He defines tough-mindedness as the “ability to draw lines and boundaries within which we protect and preserve the mental and emotional space to do our work and to be true to our selves… the ability to play real hardball with ourselves when we need it.”
Whether it is the entrepreneur himself or a member of his realm of supporters, there is bound to be that one person who asks “Why hasn’t your business taken off yet? You’ve been at it for a whole year! There are other people who made it big in a week! Where’s the money? Where’s the right-now return? What’s wrong with you?”
Whoa! Hold on! There are thousands of internet companies and start-up businesses who have flashed to life only to burnout prematurely. With a lack of foundation, these towers quickly crumbled. Oh, sure, there are the lucky ones; I won’t deny that. However, building on experience, a mission and a reputation has a better chance of sustainability than any fly-by-night. Remember the story of the Tortoise and the Hare. The Tortoise wins every time. Slow and steady wins the race.
Slow and steady takes patience and diligence. Steven Pressfield believes that “what produces real work (and happiness for each of us, in my opinion) is depth, focus, concentration and commitment over time.”
Dave Ramsey, nationally-syndicated talk show host and best-selling author, has a theory on how it works. He calls it the Momentum Theorem.
“FOCUSED INTENSITY over TIME multiplied by GOD equals Unstoppable Momentum.”
Dave Ramsey says, “Not many people in our A.D.D. culture can stay FOCUSED, but those who can are on their way to winning. Ad to the focus some serious pull-your-shirt-off-and-paint-yourself-blue-at-the-football-game INTENSITY, and now you have a person who is a difference-maker. But very few companies or people can maintain that FOCUSED INTENSITY over TIME. It takes time to be great, it takes time to create critical mass, it takes time to be an ‘overnight success.’ Lastly, you and I are finite, while GOD is infinite. So, multiply your efforts through Him and watch the areas of your life move toward winning like never before.”
We have become soft and spoiled by the availability of stuff, that too many have forgotten perseverance and how to “play hardball” with ourselves. A good dose of reality is a great place to start when you feel yourself looking for that instant gratification.
Work hard, be true to yourself and be true to your clients and the authenticity of your business will shine through the now-now-now clamber.