Scary events when you are a child stand out forever in your mind. When I was a young boy, probably around five or six years old, my parents went on a trip to Witsands near the Breede River in the Western Cape Province. On route there a car passed us at a terrifying speed. My father said to my mother that the driver in the car was being reckless driving at that speed. Not so long afterwards, we came across the same car. It was lying across the road upside down in the ditch with its wheels still spinning. The driver and passenger were dead.
We are often in a rush to get to our destination. People these days want to speed up their success and reach their destination faster. But true overnight success stories apart from those puffed up items we read about in newspapers and see online are far and few between.
Overnight success happens but it’s rare. Singers, athletes, start-up businesses achieve great success in less than a year sometimes but they are the exceptions.
Look how long it took before these people got they breaks in life. Suzie Orman, the finance guru, was a waitress until 30. Harrison Ford, actor and producer, was a carpenter until his 30s. Andrea Bocelli, singer, was a piano player at bars until 33. Ray Kroc, McDonald’s founder, sold paper cups and milk shake mixers until the age of 52 when he started the first McDonald’s franchise.
Yes, early success is possible that often it takes years before people reach their true calling. In a world where everything is instant, people forget that it takes time and practice and lots of experience to reach your destination.
Have you found your path in life? Do you yearn to be a start-up or small business owner but haven’t yet taken the first step? What holds you back?
The journey towards your destination starts with small steps. You can’t necessarily expect to get there in one giant leap. The organic way, the path of growth and struggle is like growing tree from seed and sapling into a mature oak.
I saw a professor’s remarks recently that people tend to devote many hours, research and planning to find out their ideal path before taking action. They may, for example endlessly read self-help books, try get advice from everybody they meet and hope for their big break. But this professors says that to strike out in a new direction we need to get out of our heads and rather act. What this means is that we need to do things, get out there and work even though it might be temporary, fail and try again. We learn and grow by testing reality rather than theorising about what we could do.
The other day my daughter read the following quote to me: “When the World says, ‘Give up’, Hope whispers, ‘Try it one more time.'”
If you have been trying for a long time but still have not found your passion, perhaps look again. Get back on the path. Find your direction. Do something. Act. JRR Tolkien said “Not all those who wander are lost.” Perhaps all your wondering may lead you to find your big idea. Remember that when you do find it, nothing is going to happen unless you are going to act on it.