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Growing up my parents often told me, "Work hard now, and you'll have all the time to play later!" They needed to say that to me regularly because I was always wanting to jump on my Sega and play Sonic, or the original FIFA. Or ride my bike. Or really, anything else but my homework. My dad has always been a great example of where a strong work ethic can get you. He lives by that mantra he often said to me.
I am so thankful that I've learnt that living in the very moment that we are in and nothing else is not healthy. Now there is nothing wrong with enjoying the moment. That is healthy too! But I'm worried that the pendulum has shifted in our culture so much so that our present happiness is one of the most used measures of success.
The issue with living and pouring only for the current moment is that it is no real measure of success. Look at this graph below.
At point one, B is way ahead of A. In that moment alone, B could arguably claim success. But if B does nothing to continue to grow, chances are B will go into decline. Whereas A could sow into it's future and begin to grow. At some point A will overtake B. Which of these 2 demonstrate success?
There is an account told of a charismatic, strong leader that chased immediate success for the company he became CEO of. Success for him was about the moment, and about money. He quickly used the company's resources to acquire lots of smaller companies to inflate the portfolio of the company. He got the recognition of the media and was praised as a successful leader. He gobbled up the praise and even published a book about how he was such a great leader. However, with no real direction the company begun to decline. Employees had no idea what success was and productivity greatly declined. That CEO left the company in shame.
Contrast that with another leader who set a clear direction, knowing that it would take a while for that direction to bear fruit. But he got the whole company in line with that vision, sowing into the future. The media took no notice of him. No one was calling him great. But this company went on to truly become a lasting success. These 2 accounts were recorded in Jim Collin's book Good to Great.
This made me think: what do I call success? Why do I often only see success as what I have achieved NOW rather than what I'm building towards?
I've observed that often building towards lasting success takes consistency in the foundational stuff. The unsexy stuff. Discipline. Day after day. Sticking to sowing even when the fruit doesn't show quickly. But I know THIS is what success looks like.
Do you know what success looks like for you? Don't despise the day of small beginnings! Start sowing for the future!