My inbox is littered with propositions such as “Six months to six figures” and “Earn 10,000 followers in 10 days.” Granted, I signed up for all of these mailing lists in the hopes of hacking my way to self-employment, but lately, I’ve been rethinking my strategy.
The internet is saturated with hacks. You know what I am talking about, right? Growth hacks, life hacks, game hacks, basically anything to get you from point A to point B with as little effort, stress, or time.
In real life, I’m all for finding faster and better ways of doing a job. Obviously personal growth and seeking to improve oneself is necessary, but constantly looking for the hacks leads to an unhealthy mindset and work ethic.
Sometimes slowing down and enjoying the experience is what we need to improve.
I’m subscribed to many successful entrepreneur blogs. I’m a sucker for them. I want to gain an edge to achieve my dream faster and easier. These people are willing to share their methods for success to help give me an edge on my journey.
I hope to join the ranks of these people one day, heck I’ll even share what I learned along the way. I know for sure the experiences you collect along your journey are more valuable than the successes you attain.
In other words, I’m not so much concerned about the destination, but rather the man I want to be when I arrive.
Life is not some gadget you can hack into
Let’s do a thought experiment.
Let’s say your dream is similar to mine – breaking away from the nine-to-five and into the world of self-employment. What would happen if tomorrow I had the opportunity to achieve my dream? (Technically I do, I can storm into my managers office anytime and quit.)
Would I have the necessary skills to generate my own income? Could I develop a product or service to sell before our savings run out?
Probably not. I’m nowhere near ready for self-employment. Instead, I’m willing to be patient, learn as much as I can, and put in the effort before the time is right.
Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t an excuse to not chase your dream. Quite the contrary! I want you to go all out, but still pursue your dream wisely by not cutting corners or taking the easy way.
When I finally reach my dream, I want to be able to appreciate what I worked hard for. That’s why I’m a skeptic of all hacking propositions. I’m sure the people ahead of us genuinely want to help, but they don’t know the journey you need to take.
Grow like bamboo
Here’s my proposal for a new way to look at growth: bamboo.
Bamboo is considered the world’s fastest growing plant. Some species can grow as fast as 3 feet in a 24-hour span. However, what people fail to realize are the years of “dormancy” preceding a bamboo shooting out of the ground.
When a seed is planted, it can take upwards of 4 years before any sprout appears. The reason? The plant first grows a solid foundation of roots to support rapid growth. We need to model our personal journeys after bamboo.
Right now we may seem like we are making no progress or not doing enough to chase our dream.
Stressed, tired, and beat down we may feel tempted to hack our way instead.
Don’t. I’m begging you, be patient.
Or as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once penned:
“The heights by great men reached and kept
Were not attained by sudden flight,
But they, while their companions slept,
Were toiling upward in the night.”