Why Shortcuts to Success Don't Exist

We all want to be successful. Some of us want to give off the impression of being successful, just wanting to be successful in other people’s eyes. And I don’t mean to simplify things, but some people understand work is necessary to be successful, and others want to just sidestep all that work, to make it right back to “go” and collect $200 without going all around the board.

But, generally, there is no other way to succeed than to hold still, honker down and to ignore the notions of what else might be possible or how you can get people to do your work for you. Blogger/author/speaker Jeff Goins wrote about this recently, about the “three levels of commitment” that exist in the world, and how there “aren’t many who have the perseverance to do... the hard work that really matters.” Basically, he writes (though I’m paraphrasing slightly), with anything in life there are three stages of commitment: the adventure, the commitment and then the marriage.

It’s doubtful I need to explain these because they’re so straightforward, but the gist is this: Work is hard. Right? That’s why they call it work. Going into business for yourself, being an entrepreneur, is an adventure at first. It’s exciting. It’s scary. It’s new. It’s uncharted territory, even if you’ve done it before, because you’ll be doing something different for the first time. From there, you decide, “Okay, I’m definitely going all in on this. I’m not turning back.” You’re committing.

But still, you can break that commitment if things get too dire or you realize you made a mistake.

But eventually, you need to commit and you need to hold still and grow up. It’s a sign of maturity, sure, but at some point adventure isn’t what you need. You need stability.

People who are serial entrepreneurs may understand that they love building things up to that marriage level of commitment, and they can only do so because they’ve weathered the storms and hung in there. They’ve made things successful against all odds and did the work.

You can’t skip that work, as much as you might want to.

And, hey, hang in there: We’re all in it together, doing the same thing. 

David Wolinsky is a freelance writer and a lifelong Chicagoan. In addition to currently serving as an interviewer-writer for Adult Swim, he's also a comedy-writing instructor for Second City and an adjunct professor in DePaul’s College of Computing and Digital Media. (He also co-runs a blog behind the DePaul class, DIY Game Dev.) He was the Chicago city editor for The Onion A.V. Club where he provided in-depth daily coverage of this city's bustling arts/entertainment scene for half a decade. His first career aspirations were to be a game-show host.

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