Archive for October, 2010
Everything around us these days promises a quick fix.
Over the course of a single day, you’re probably inundated by ways to improve your abs, vanquish your back pain, make a million dollars, or find the love of your life in record time. Our attention as a society moves from one thing to the next without deliberate, consistent focus placed on any one thing for an extended period of time. And we’re all learning from each other to think about things in terms of minutes or hours and not months or years.
Yet so many of us set out to do what’s promised for us without an understanding of the work required, just to fall short again and again… because what we’re not told is that while in some cases it could be possible, it’s in no way probable for short-term thinking to work. Blame the internet all you want, but this is only going to get worse.
When you think back to just 15 or 20 years ago, global attention wasn’t this defocused. News cycles didn’t refresh every 15 minutes, people didn’t carry on three SMS conversations while eating lunch with you, and there was a clear expectation of having to “pay your dues” before being promoted into the corner office. There’s certainly been a shift in expectations and it’s immediately apparent when you talk to folks from the now dubbed “entitlement generation”.
Even referencing a generation makes me feel old, but for the millions of people who have grown up on the net, overnight success isn’t just possible – it’s expected. They’ve seen instant celebrity blossom from a talentless vacuum, 20 year old millionaires on the cover of Newsweek, and many end up with an age bias, feeling that things have to happen for them before they get “old”.
The media messes with our minds. The stories that sell are the ones that we all read with awe, wishing we could have that type of overnight success. It’s the Kardashian syndrome. Overnight success may happen for Mike “The Situation” but for the vast majority of people with enduring and durable success – the type you should strive for – it took time. Lots of time and lots of work.