I’ve got a special surprise for you today, readers. The following post comes to us from the Mastermind himself, Erik, of The Mastermind Within. Erik is practically a neighbor of mine (you know, the epicenter of FIRE bloggers, thanks to the highly motivational winters…) At any rate, I’m excited to pass the mic to a highly talented writer, and student of all things financial and life. Today’s post is all about Instant Gratification. Take it away, Erik!
Life is Not Easy
Have you ever tried instant coffee?
I hope not.
Take an amazing thing, coffee, put it in a 1 time use packet, mix it with a bit of hot water and BOOM. You have one of the nastiest things out there.
Instant coffee is just another product in a long line of “instant fixes” for people’s problems.
Instant gratification is something I enjoy, but have come to realize that it is rarely worth it.
In this post, I will be sharing with you my thoughts on why I believe quick fixes don’t and will never exist.
Instant Gratification Solutions Don’t Exist
Let’s talk about a story I’m sure you are familiar with: lottery winner failures.
First though, let’s take a step back.
The personal financial situation in the United States on average is not all that great (well, for some maybe, for others not so much)
Here are a number of statistics about the finances of America:
- 59% of Americans could not cover an unexpected $500 bill.
- 69% of Americans have less than $1,000 in their savings account.
- The national savings rate at the end of April was 2.8%
- The average American has around $250,000 in various debts.
- The government is $21 trillion (21,000,000,000,000) in debt.
- All aboard on the hyperinflation train!
I think it’s safe to say most people could improve handling their personal wealth and finances.
There are so many people who play the lottery hoping to buy a huge mansion, a nice car, and retire early. Unfortunately, there are many winners who end up in trouble after these massive 7 figure windfalls.
Why does this happen? How can someone possibly spend 10s of millions of dollars in a few months time?
Lotteries are just one example of supposed quick fix instant gratification: winning the lottery can make you rich, but there’s no guarantee you’ll stay rich after the payout.
Instant gratification myth: Quit your job, work from home, make $10,000 a month!
It’s possible that over the years, you’ve been exposed to a multi-level marketing company, or as some people call them, “a Get Rich Quick Scheme.”
When I was in college, I experienced this first-hand.
One day, after getting off the bus, I was walking back to my apartment and was approached by two younger folks. “You look like a sharp and smart guy. We have a business opportunity we’d love to chat about with you.”
As someone who had started to learn about building wealth, investing, and small business, I was eager to jump into learning about how others were making money and building their business.
After meeting up at Starbucks, a meeting with one of the highly successful managers who doesn’t have to work anymore because of his business success, and another recruiting event, I paid my fee and became an Amway business owner.
I told my parents, and they were a little dumbfounded. They basically told me, you got conned and are wasting your time and money.
A few cold calls, trying to get hype with my friends (which was really painful), and $200 later, I called it a day. It was a waste of time, and wasn’t something I should have gotten into in the first place.
3 months and $200 later, this was my first quick fix “failure.”
Amway and similar pyramid schemes might work out for a select few. But for most, best of luck if you decide to join one of those organizations. If you want to get rich fast, build a multi-level marketing con shop, don’t join one. wink!
Growing Organically – Going against the Instant Gratification Grain
For the past 18 months, I’ve had two main projects: a blog and a subscription kit business.
When I started my blog, I read all of these inspirational stories about how people shot out of the gate and got 1,000,000 page views in their first month and made $100,000 spending 4 hours that first month. So obviously, now you should go buy their course on how to start a blog, so you can do the same.
What were the results from my first month? I must have spent around 100 hours that first month, pumped out 15 posts, and ended up with a whopping 1,659 page views and about $5 of revenue.
Six months later, I’d written about 50 posts, and still hadn’t cracked 4,000 page views in a month. I was burnt out, and struggling to see the light.
In October, I went to a financial media conference called FinCon and was surrounded by people who actually were making this crazy thing called blogging work for them, full-time.
Inspired again, since last November, I’ve been consistent by making every day count.
I post Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and now even have a podcast where I publish an episode on Tuesdays.
In the last 7 months, I haven’t missed a day, and have seen the growth I was hoping for.
Instant results don’t happen overnight. Nobody is an overnight success, but nothing is stopping you from getting there.
Always looking to become a bit better
A similar thing happened with the subscription kit business I’m working on growing.
After a successful Kick-starter last May and June, sales were pretty much nil over the next few months.
My product was bland, my website looked untrustworthy and unappealing. The idea needed refinement.
Trying to balance my day job, blog, family, fun, and a new subscription kit business was tough. I don’t recommend taking on all of that at once. But again, I had to figure out what made me happiest, what I knew I could accomplish, and then go out and do it!
Over the past few months, I’ve re-branded, redesigned my website, continued to tweak the final product. And now, I’m getting a few sales a week. Bam!
It feels amazing getting THIS feedback, “I love waiting to get my box in the mail and see what fun new ingredients I get to use,” or, “The directions are super simple and the seller gives you everything you need to start. I can’t wait to get the different flavors they offer!”
If this feedback would have come that first month without the hard work, I’m not sure I would have been as thankful or pleased with my efforts.
While I could have just slapped together a website and called it good, instant fixes don’t exist. And now, I’ve positioned the company for a promising future.
Consistent, daily discipline leads to success
In a world filled with instant coffee, instant credit, instant online checkout, and 24/7 news on 247 channels, we have come dangerously close to losing touch with reality and believing we have access to instant life.
Life is not easy
Starting out with any new endeavor, growth takes time.
Think back to a time you were a beginner in something you wanted to become better at.
I love the example of when I learned how to bike: I started with training wheels and went from there.
A few months later, the training wheels were off and I was riding around the neighborhood; a year later, I could bike to school and back without needing supervision.
After a few years of biking, 10-20 miles in a single ride wasn’t out of the question. Something that started out with training wheels turned into a lifelong skill.
It’s the same concept in life, whether it’s learning skills, fitness, financial acumen, relationships, etc.
Life is not easy. Instant gratification is rare. You can’t just go online and find success in real estate, success in your business or career, or even in your relationships. Clickable links are fun, but they’re certainly not magic beans.
It will take time, and it will be a struggle, but persistence will pay-off. And you will find what you’re looking for.
Readers: have you ever tried a quick fix? How did it go? Are you in it for the long haul on any projects?
Bio: Erik is a 26-year-old blogger, living in the Midwest, who writes at The Mastermind Within about personal finance, entrepreneurship and self-improvement. He is passionate about sharing his tips and tricks for building wealth as a millennial, and looks to help other people unlock their full potential in life.
Cubert’s notes: Great stuff, Erik! Reminds me of a really good book, Talent is Overrated. The essence is, if you put in 10,000 hours on just about any specific skill, you become a master. Tiger Woods started golf as a toddler, allowing him to go pro 10,000 hours later as a teenager. One researcher even had his toddlers play chess everyday, on through their childhood. Then as adults these phenoms had become the first women grand masters of chess. The old man just wanted to prove the theory that anyone (man or woman) could achieve just about anything. Not just by putting their mind to it, but putting their TIME to it.