To achieve our greatest potential, we need to have a delicate balance of both persistence and patience. It takes years, even decades, to accomplish major goals like building a scalable company, writing a book, getting married and traveling the world. In order to achieve these lofty goals, we have to set daily, weekly, monthly and annual goals. My father has always told me that you have to “walk before you run”, meaning that you need to write a page before you write a chapter of your book. In order to travel the world, you have to start with planning a trip to one country. If you want to get married, it starts with asking someone out on a single date. Life is a process, which is why you should always break your long-term goals into short term ones. The long game is won by getting things done today that will amount to bigger things tomorrow.
I’m an extremely persistent person yet at the same time, I’ve accepted that I can’t have everything I want today. I used to tell myself when I was in college that I “need to sacrifice today in order to be more successful in the future”. The sacrifices I made back then were about how I spent my time. Instead of going to every party on campus, I went to networking events and always worked at least one job. When I was trying to get my first job out of school, I interviewed for three positions, meeting fifteen different people over eight months before I was hired. It took a while, but my persistence paid off and if it didn’t, it would teach me how to interview better next time. I originally set out to write five books before I turned thirty, yet realized through countless rejection that there was no rush and patience meant more time to become a better writer and build a stronger network.
Patience is a skill in itself. In our society, we want everything on on-demand, yet the greatest things in life need to be earned over time. I’ve interviewed some of the most successful people in the world, but it’s taken me a decade and all started with people you’ve never heard of before. I’m extremely aggressive at going after big names to interview and when I’m turned down, I take a deep breadth and move on, only to reach out again in the future. This is my way of seeing what opportunities I can get now, but accepted that it might takes years to achieve the goal.
I’ve grown to love patience and handle rejection because I view it as part of the process. I’ve been turned down so much over my life, from being dumped by women to not getting a client, that it keeps me grounded, humble and hungry at the same time. While my generation is stereotyped as entitled, what we are really yearning for is realistic expectations and a path forward. Based on the life I’ve lived so far, I firmly believe anything is possible as long as you keep moving forward no matter what obstacles get in your way. Sometimes being rejected or turned down can put you on a new and better path altogether. For instance, I was turned down countless times when trying to get a research study funded and the company that eventually partnered with me was the right one. In this way, I was persistent in how I pitched a hundred companies on sponsorship, yet I was willing to be patient enough for the right company to sign on.
As high achievers we must serve both our short and long-term needs to feel successful. In order to do that we have to strive for excellence, while bracing ourselves for failure. The greatest discoveries and victories don’t happen every night but if you complete one small task, it can lead to something bigger and that can snowball. Have a little patience instead of trying to be an overnight success because no one is, and we all need time in order to make our mark.