Sunday 4 December 2022

Cross the Valley of Disappointment to Succeed

'Your business grew fast overnight and became successful. Not everyone is that lucky' - a relative recently told me.

'No. You have no idea how difficult it was for us to cross the Valley of disappointment to build that luck', I said.

'What's that?', he asked.

In the pursuit of success, one of the toughest barriers to cross is the valley of disappointment. It's basically the period of the time lag between the outcome and the efforts. Essentially it's the time period when you have started putting in the effort, but the outcome/success is yet to show up.

Let's take a few examples:

1. You want to lose weight and you started doing intermittent fasting or exercise. But it's been 10 days and your weight hasn't moved by a gram. And now you're getting impatient that the weight loss not happening and you decide to give up.

2. You left your job to start your own business. It's been 6 months and you don't have a single paying customer. You get tired and you decide to give up.

3. You start preparing for IIT and you work hard for 6 months only to realize that the exam/rank you've been dreaming of is still 1.5 years away. You get exhausted and you decide to give up.

Most people during this time, lose motivation and that's exactly what differentiates a successful person from an unsuccessful person. Successful people believe in the journey/process and not just the outcome and hence they are able to cross the valley and win.

Let me explain further.

In the example of weight loss above, if one decides to continue to do intermittent fasting and exercise for 30 continuous days without worrying about what the weight scale shows, one will eventually see a loss in weight. 10 days is too short a time to see results.

Same way, in the entrepreneurship journey, one has to be patient for no less than 2 - 3 years to start seeing the outcomes. For IIT preparation, it's a journey of at least 2 years.

Essentially, the way to cross the valley of disappointment is to keep walking and not stop for a certain reasonable time frame. The whole game of crossing the valley is to not get bogged down by the fact that you're taking the effort to walk and still not rising up, but rather, might be going down the V shape of the valley. Eventually, the 'luck' (outcome) will show up.

Another interesting point to note is that the valley might be wider for some people, which means that some folks might start losing weight on the 11th day, while for others it may take 20 days. That's why it's best to take a safe cutoff of 30 days to cover all the cases. For 30 straight days, keep exercising and fasting without worrying about the weight scale.

Believe in the process and keep putting in the effort. The outcomes will eventually come. Be impatient with efforts and patient with the outcomes.

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