The Process of Success

Getting past quick fixes and focusing on the long haul

I hear this one a lot: “I have $5,000 to invest. Where should I put it? Do you have a hot tip for me?”

The reality is that for most people, when it comes to investing, they simply want to be told what to do rather than figure out what to do for themselves. People love a quick fix.

There is no quick fix

No time of year do you see this more prevalently than in the New Year. People want to lose weight, so they jump on the latest fad diet, only to abandon it a few weeks later. People want to stop smoking, so they throw away that half-smoked pack, only to buy a new one a couple days later.

Unfortunately, they don’t do the hard work it takes to build the necessary foundations to win in the long term.

Success is a process

New Year’s resolutions are a process. You can’t just change your life with the flip of a calendar. It takes hard work over a sustained period of time with a good plan to make a change. This is just as true when it comes to investing.

Financial independence doesn’t happen overnight. There is no quick fix. Investing is like learning a new language; you don’t become fluent in one day. You must practice, practice, practice.

In the process, you will make some mistakes. But as you keep up with it, just as with a language, you will become more and more fluent. Every mistake you make simply makes you smarter.

How to build a dome

This is true for even the greatest minds on the planet. A while back, I watched a video by R. Buckminster Fuller, the inventor of the geodesic dome and a revolutionary philosopher, futurist, and architect.

In the video, he and his students were building the dome they had tried to build many times, but it had never held. In this video, they thought they had the perfect specifications and that the dome would stand. Only, it didn’t. It collapsed one more time. The students were in disbelief, discouraged, and dejected. But not Fuller. He was ecstatic!

“This is wonderful!” said Fuller. “I can see what we did wrong! We are one step closer to building a successful dome.”

Every process includes mistakes

Fuller wasn’t upset that the dome didn’t stand. He knew he was in the middle of a process, and each step of the process took him closer to reaching his goal.

As an investor, the process never ends. Each day, you learn new things, and mistakes are part of that learning process. It may not feel great to make those mistakes, but they’re key to learning and eventually getting what you want.

As actress Elizabeth Taylor said, “It’s not the having, it’s the getting.”

This New Year, take some time to write down your goals and figure out what the process will be to get there. Also, reflect on the mistakes you made in the last year. How can you learn from them? What lessons do they hold for you? How can you apply those lessons in the coming year?

Do that, and you’ll be on the journey to success.

Original publish date: January 08, 2015