How great would it be if there was a ‘tipping point’, right? How easier would it be if there was a point in life that separates it into two kingdoms: “before” and “after”, “failure” and “success”, “achieving” and “freedom”.
How amazing would it be if success was instant.
It seems that everyone had one: Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Paul McCartney. They all had at least some version of a tipping point after which everything was different.
All we need to do is figure out how to generate this tipping point and we’ll achieve success.
But that’s not how life works. Not really.
It’s all just little, tiny, steps. As one of characters in the book I recently read said: “entrepreneurship is about pushing, not tipping.”
And to keep going through these little steps, you need patience.
Patient about the grind, the hustle, the daily rhythm and the daily beat that sometimes feels useless. Many years later, you will suddenly realize — it wasn’t useless at all. It was part of the plan all along. And suddenly, you will be able to see your tipping point. Not in the future, not in front of you, but in the past: there it was, right there! There is always a tipping point in hindsight.
You can only connect the dots looking backwards.
So they key to success — the one that so many young hustlers out there are trying to find in the huge blue ocean of blogs, books and GaryVee is actually pretty simple: Stay on the path. Stick to it. Follow the rhythm.
You want to become successful? Stick with it.
You want to achieve your goal? Do it every day, little by little.
You want to lose weight? Keep it on.
We (the young hustlers) underestimate what happens in the long run. And way overestimate (oh my!) what happens in the short run. We want success tomorrow and freak out when it’s not there when we wake up in the morning.
Any kind of success has to be earned. It’s the definition of it.
I learned this the hard way.
Two years ago, during the bitcoin boom I decided to make some cash. I took my credit card (dum me) and bought $2000 worth of bitcoins (about 0.5 at the time) and began trading.
I taught myself how to watch trends, read the news, started following many successful traders on Twitter and read their blogs about investing.
I thought of myself as a young investor. Sounds cool, right? Yeah.
One night, I decided to experiment with leverage (i.e., borrowing money from the exchange to put at stake more than I have). I put a x50 leverage (which literally means I’ve borrowed x50 amount of money that I’ve got) and did a couple of trades.
When I woke up the next day and logged on to my computer, I realized that I made $15 000 dollars overnight (equivalent to a million rubles in Russia). I was ecstatic. I was a ruble millionaire at 19.
Immediately I called my girlfriend and told her the good news (I was in London at the time, she was in Moscow). She said she was proud of me and always believed in me (considering that ‘always’ meant 3 months that we were dating).
I got out of my hotel and started walking the streets of London, feeling like the richest man in the world ($15k is huge money for a 19-year-old, and it still is good money for me now). I bought myself new shoes, expensive sunglasses and dined in an expensive restaurant (London food is crazy expensive!).
I felt great. I was king. Until I wasn’t.
When I came back to Moscow a few days later I bought myself and my sister the new AirPods. They just came out. I asked my mom to tell me what she wants so that I could buy it for her — “anything,” I said.
But as I walked through the streets of Moscow, looking up at the [always] gray September sky, I felt as though I stole this money from someone. The $15k didn’t feel mine. I got them too quickly. And deep inside I knew that it wasn’t my skill or ‘knowledge’.
I thought about all the people that are working 9–5 jobs and making 60 000 rubles ($1000) per month. These people had families, had kids to feed and take care of. And here I was, 19-year-old dude who has no one to take care of besides myself, who just got too damn lucky. For some reason, I felt bad. I didn’t know what to do with the money and why I needed it in the first place.
But two days later I decided that if I made $15k, why not make more? I maxed out my 2 credit cards, put the remaining amount from $15k and put on a x100 leverage.
When I woke up the next morning, I realized I was broke. I had nothing.
Something happened in China (probably someone blocked something), so the prices changed in the wrong direction and because I bet so much (x100 leverage!), I lost everything.
Now I felt like real shit.
Although that was not the end of my crypto-trading career (that came later, when I lost much more money, I’ll tell it later someday), it taught me a valuable lesson on patience.
So many of us want to become successful quickly. But real success has to be earned. You have to work for it, fight for it, grab it by the neck and hold on to it until there is no more strength in you left.
I believe that the more you spend time building towards your success, the more meaning it will have for you.
Why do you think so many lottery winners go crazy? Once they’ve got their money — it feels as though there is nothing more to do in the world, there is no purpose. Nothing valuable comes fast or easy. And even if it does (you can be a lucky fuck!), you wouldn’t want to have it that way.
Life is struggle. To become a butterfly, you first must crawl your way to the top, with little steps that compound over time. To be able to do that, you need desire. You need to want something so bad, it hurts.
One of my mentors told me once:
“You can become anything you want. I can go on Mars. You can become the president of the United States. You just got to want it really bad. Nothing trumps the human desire. Nothing even comes close. But you’ve got to learn to generate that desire inside you– learn to keep that fuel going…”
So the key to success is to keep going, even when it feels like it’s completely useless. It’s not. Your actions have the ability to compound over time.
And if you think about it, why would you want to become successful at 19,20,21,22? Or 25? Or 30? Why would you even set yourself goals on becoming successful?
What does it even mean?
I mean, I understand what ‘become great at X’ means, like: becoming a great writer, producer, musician, entrepreneur, etc. But what does it mean to become successful? Make a lot of money? Really?
There are a lot of examples of people who became successful at the early stages of their career and then failed to advance forward after that. It seems that they stayed at the same level as they were when they became successful. Would you want to be stuck at the same level as the 20-year-old version of you?
Be patient. You will be surprised by what happens in the long run, if you let it happen: by giving it time to happen.
Success is like good wine — it needs time to become good.