Because good things take time
I am always a person in a hurry. I am a product of the society in which I live in. Everything is on tap and there is nothing that cannot be done instantly. From ordering a uber, through to ordering a pizza – or for that matter, a pair of shoes online.
I can go online and get a quick grab of cash through all of these new finance companies. I can also buy a new couch, fridge or coffee machine with 24-36 months interest free terms. I have also noticed that there is now ‘after-pay’ services, where you can buy goods for under $100 on the spot and you’ll pay later. I also get letters in the mail from credit card companies offering me to up my credit limit, simply by signing a form and returning it post-free.
Basically I can have what I want when I want it. Don’t even get me started on the financial implications of the buy-now-pay-later lifestyle. That’s a separate matter altogether!
However, in all of this, we can lose sight of the fact that good things – really good things – take time … And sometimes a lot of time to really come to pass. In the last number of years we have seen start ups like Spotify, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and the likes go from nothing to multi-billion companies. Accordingly it is easy to think that we must be doing something wring if we are not progressing at the same pace as others.
The reality is though that really good things take time. And when someone like Jeff Bezos of Amazon talks about thinking for the long term, I think we should all look at taking his lead. He had to go to his shareholders with years of quarterly losses, advising him he was building something for the long term. I could be wrong, but I think this has paid off for him.
The bible talks about building your house upon the rock, and not the sand. (Matthew 7:24-27) That is easier said than done in a world where instant gratification rules. Afterall, it’s way cooler to drive the latest car than to drive an older model and be saving money. Likewise it’s the done thing to have a house full of beautiful furniture as opposed to one where it’s not all up to date, but again, there is money in the bank and the purchases were not financed.
Even within our company, we have taken the longer and slower approach to growth. At times it has been painfully frustrating, but I live by the fact that I would always prefer to be frustrated than highly stressed. We’ve resisted bringing outside investors, we have avoided going to the bank. We have instead set a path and plan for where we are going, and we realize that it is going to take us many (more) years to get there.
In addition to this, by not constantly just having the cash on hand, it has forced us to be highly creative. We have had to go to God to work out how to finance projects, given we have a rule that we will not borrow money for growth. That is something that anyone in business will tell you is not easily done. Most will tell you it takes money to make money.
One thing I am slowly finding as I am getting older is that the journey is really enjoyable. I was always so focused on the destination that I was not only missing all of the small wins along the way, but I was also missing the sheer miracles of what we were achieving without debt.
I have said it before, but most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in 5-10 years. So if you’ve got a great idea, just allow it some time to develop. Very few people will get to the top in a few short years. For most, a successful life is built over decades of hard work, discipline and dedication.