Success only comes as a matter of time

One of the most frequently asked questions in all generations is
One of the most frequently asked questions in all generations is, ‘Can success be sped up? PHOTO | FILE 

One of the most frequently asked questions in all generations is, ‘Can success be sped up?

In fact, out of this question that dominates the minds of so many people, profiteers have come up with products that promise instant results. We have coined commercial phrases with prefix ‘instant’ that such as instant weight loss, prosperity, business success, loans and cure for all maladies in the society.

The question whether success can be sped up is not necessarily caused by greed and impatience nature of human beings.

We all get tired and frustrated by a process that seem to take ages. You start a business and despite working hard it does not seem to stabilise and grow like others that you know. You work hard and you don’t get promotion yet you see others, not so hard working growing in their career.

Well, one thing that is conceded by nearly all successful people across the ages is that true success takes time; it is not an overnight thing, although in some cases outwardly it looks so.


Often we focus on the end result and ignore the process or the effort it took individuals to reach certain levels of achievement.

The path to success almost always follows a path of good learning and preparations, may include temporary failures, disappointments and detours.

In this book, Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell examines the factors that contribute to high levels of success in life.

After analyzing several highly successful people he coined what he called a 10,000-hour rule.

The 10,000-hour rule simply states that one needs at least 10,000 hours to gain mastery in any field.

Several other studies point out that it takes more or less the same time to achieve meaningful success in any particular field. For example, a study conducted by John Hayes, a cognitive psychology professor at Carnegie Mellon University investigated the role of effort, practice and knowledge in top performers. He based his study on thousands of musical pieces produced between the years of 1685 to 1900, with core objective of establishing how long after one becomes interested in music it takes to become world class.

He concentrated on 500 pieces popular conceded to be the masterpieces, frequently played to the world and studied 76 composers who created them.

Quite remarkably, he established that almost all the masterpieces were written after 10 years of the composer’s career. Out of 500 there were only three exceptions, which were written in years eight and nine.

It is notable that not a single person produced incredible work without putting in a decade of practice first, not even genius like Mozart.

Prof Hayes called this period, 10 years of silence. It is a period that no one notices or appreciates the challenges, time, resources and hurdles that a person goes through. When finally, success comes people see it only at that moment, like seeing a movie at the middle or somewhere towards the end – and making uninformed judgement.

Mr Kiunga is a business trainer and the author of The Art of Entrepreneurship: Strategies to Succeed in a Competitive Market. [email protected]