We live in a fast-moving world of "no lines, no waiting." Instant gratification has become the new norm.

Not only does our fast-paced on-demand world discourage us from waiting, but there are always stories floating around about someone who has become an "overnight success."

You hear about a musician who becomes an instant celebrity. A vlogger who already has 100k subscribers the moment you discover her. Or start-ups that make millions of dollars soon as they get off ground. These stories fuel our desire to get immediate results from whatever we are doing.

Despite the many stories about people and businesses achieving immediate results, in reality, success is rarely instant. People are looking at the end result and not all the work it took to get there.

It's no wonder we have come to expect immediate results in other areas of our lives. Whether it's to build a better body, lose weight, learn a new instrument, acquire a new language, master a new software, paying off debt, building a new business, we want it right now.


Here are a few reasons why we expect immediate results:

We lack patience. If we don't get results, we give up. It's been recently found that our patience lasts all of 2 seconds. If within 2 seconds, an online video doesn't load, we start clicking off. Our patience is so short that when we don't get the results we want immediately, this affects our behaviour.

We overestimate our abilities. We tend to think that we'll do so well at something that we'll see results right away. Overestimating and being unrealistic about our abilities can leave us disappointed when we're not able to perform as well as we have predicted.

We underestimate how long change takes. We incorrectly assume that change in all areas of our lives can happen fast. We lose sight of the fact that personal change, business operations, and people don't move nearly as fast as technology.

People love to talk about successes. Share the shiny good bits.

Yes, it is important that we celebrate achievements, but we also need to be brave enough to share the less glamorous untold stories of building a business, having more honest conversations about just how much grit, perseverance, and time is required to build something we can be proud of.

And because results will take some time before they show up, it is even more imperative that we enjoy the process, relish the journey of building our dreams. That’s why I champion the concept of “happily achieving” and not "achieving to be happy."

A big chunk of building something involves getting muddy, untying knots after knots of uncertainties and doubts. It is okay to stumble. It is about going through the necessary process, taking action, so we can get to where we want. It takes time.

Most of my businesses took at least 2 years to build traction before pulling in a decent amount of revenue. Those which appear to be “overnight successes” were the result of many experiments and multiple iterations of previous versions.

Also, the first business you build will always be the hardest. Once you’ve established a solid foothold, it becomes increasingly easier to see results for new complementary projects as you leverage on the foundation already built. It gets better!

Patience is not simply the ability to wait. It's how we behave while we're waiting.

Create realistic expectations. Recognise that progress isn't all that obvious all the time. Practice delaying gratification. And remember to celebrate the quick and small wins along the way.


“Best thing since Que Pasa's Chicken Wings!”
- Dan's Grandma

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