“Timing, perseverance, and ten years of trying will eventually make you look like an overnight success.” -Biz Stone, Co-founder of Twitter
5 years, 3 months.
That’s how long it takes Chinese Bamboo to grow to maturity. At its peak, this tree will stretch above the canopy, reaching heights of 80 feet or more. But for the first 1,825 days of its life, it appears to be nothing more than a stubby green shoot protruding from the soil.
That’s because the real growth is happening underground. For 60 months, that green shoot is fighting in an invisible battle, struggling day and night to establish a network of roots strong enough to support what will be a full-fledged tree. Once the root system is stable, the shoot grows rapidly in just 90 days to reach its full potential.
It would be foolish to assume that this bamboo tree matured overnight, when in truth, it is the culmination of over 5 years of struggle. And it is equally foolish to assume that any business or product can be successful without doing the same.
Yet people do just that. In my 20+ years of experience in the software industry, I’ve mentored countless young people. Whether they’re seeking advice on development, design, or entrepreneurship in general, I most commonly find myself having to dispel one misconception in particular: the notion of overnight success.
If there’s one thing nature teaches us, it is this: There is absolutely, unequivocally, no such thing as overnight success.
There may be the appearance of instant success, but that is illusory. True success is always the result of preparation and diligence.
In an age where videos and Tweets can go “viral” overnight, it’s no surprise that instant success seems to be a real phenomenon to many. But what many fail to consider are the months, years, or even decades of toil that made that moment possible.
We must look below the surface, beyond what things seem to be, to see the struggle, the sacrifice, and the failures that made that moment possible.
The universe demands that we all pay our dues. Nothing is for free– least of all success.