The Road to Success is not via Instant Gratification.

long term view

Nalanda University, India









The worst sins visited on newcomers to on-line marketing are the promises-of-instant-riches type internet marketers. They target every type of business, artistic endeavour or professional service that could be marketed on-line. Some of them do promote valuable programmes, most publish disclaimers that examples given may not be typical, that many users of the programmes might not have the expertise or put in the required effort to achieve similar results.

As a modern alchemist, working to help people transform their lives and overcome adversity, it is hard to have to convince hopeful people that, for the vast majority of us, success comes incrementally.  Not like the magic worked by ancient Alchemists converting base metals to gold in a flash of light and cloud of smoke.

There are exceptions, and it is encouraging to see a degree of responsibility creeping into internet marketing, fewer wild claims and the use of more sober language.

Is that  a result of recent tightening of regulations, the disappearance of some of the worst offenders or market and consumer maturity? Probably a combination of all these.

It is somewhat surprising that otherwise sensible people, those who do not for a moment believe a certain brand of deodorant will attract elevators full of the most stunningly good-looking members of the opposite sex, will believe that XYZ Internet marketing system will generate a 6 figure income in mere months with little work. Or that the path to instant riches is through blogging, coaching, social media consulting, copywriting or membership sites.

Yes there are people who have made lots of money very quickly in all of those ventures and many more obscure ones. Just as there are hundreds of thousands of golfers hacking around golf courses every day of the week, but only a minuscule percentage become as successful as Tiger Woods. Not overnight either.

Why then do so many people get taken in by the advertising, get disheartened after a few weeks of no results and abandon their new ventures and their dreams?

Why should this be much more prevalent in the “virtual” world than the real world? In a previous post, I wrote about lack of commitment and getting stuck in information gathering, not taking action. However the alacrity with which people believe that instant success on the internet is easy is something different.

A few reasons:

  • Low cost of entry
  • Hope
  • Societal conditioning – instant gratification

Low cost of entry, or the low-cost of purchasing many on-line information products removes the barrier that prevents all but the most serious, determined and committed entrants to a “real world” bricks-and-mortar, or even franchise, type of business. It also means many people jump into opportunities without doing the research that would show them the realities, difficulties, hurdles, and required resources.

The recession, export of jobs to other countries, maturing industries have all led to higher unemployment levels and reduced job opportunities. Add to that the attention given to “following your passion”, “finding your purpose” and the difficulties graduates have in finding jobs and it is easy to understand why more people than ever are hoping to become entrepreneurs. The stark reality is, hoping is not enough.

Problem is, without life and business experience it is difficult to discern which opportunities, claims and promises have substance and which are the stuff of dreams.

Is it possible to have a good income from an on-line business or a service that relies on Internet Marketing? Absolutely yes, but just as in any business, sport or human field of endeavour, there are very few super stars, a sizeable number of good performers and the great majority who never get past the hobby stage.

The following is somewhat off topic, but a good reminder that as important as each life and each lifetime is; as individuals, we are very small cogs in the huge, complex experience of mankind as a whole. A reminder that some of our own greatest achievements might not be realised or recognised in our own lifetimes. We may never know the legacy we leave for future generations, just as the importance of many of history’s great minds only became apparent long after they had gone.

By pure chance, I saw a few minutes of a documentary on TV about the oldest residential university in the world. Nalanda University in Bihar, India. That snippet encouraged me to dig deeper.Using  Wikipedia as a source, I learned that it was started in the 5th century, at its peak it had 2000 teachers and 10 000 students, it operated as the leading source of learning in the world until it was sacked and burned in 1193 by an invading army during the Muslim conquest of India to stamp out Buddhism. The Wikipedia entry contains many more fascinating details of this huge undertaking.

There are great universities in Europe that have endured hundreds of years, but for generations of lecturers, administrators, students and others to strive to keep a huge undertaking like Nalanda operating for close on 700 years proves the value of taking a long-term view compared to the current obsession for instant gratification.

What do you think? Are you prepared to commit yourself for the long haul in what ever endeavour you undertake? Or will you get seduced by the latest promises when you realise you are not going to achieve instant success on the path you are on?

Leave a comment.

Wishing you success and an extraordinary life.

Peter Wright




Image from Wikipedia Creative Commons

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  4 comments for “The Road to Success is not via Instant Gratification.

  1. Roberta
    June 2, 2013 at 10:29 pm

    I like to think I am in blogging for the long haul. But then again, I did not start my blog to make a living or a fortune. I just wanted to provide people with limited income delicious & inexpensive recipes.

    I stay in it because it is just so much fun and have met so many great people on Twitter.

    Had never heard of Nalanda University before. What a great story. Will have to do some research on it myself.

    • June 4, 2013 at 1:21 pm

      If you are interested Roberta, that Wikipedia link in the post takes you to a good source of information, the sheer scale of the university is impressive. More so considering that, like the Egyptian Pyramids, it was built and managed without the benefit of modern equipment or technology.

  2. Don
    June 4, 2013 at 9:46 am

    Great blog Peter.
    You are so right, too many people are seduced by these get rich quick schemes… and not just on the internet…
    To get ahead in life it takes work, and perseverance…

    • June 4, 2013 at 1:23 pm

      Thanks for your comment Don, one of the downsides of the Internet is that it is too easy for false promises to be broadcast to a hopeful and often desperate audience.

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