Success Takes Time

By Dr. Paul L. Gerhardt, PhD

Many of you readers may have heard the incredibly popular story behind the invention of the modern-day fluorescent light bulb. It goes something like this: Thomas Edison tried and failed a thousand separate times to make the creation which has now changed Earth as we know it. Jack Ma tried dozens of different jobs, and got rejected from most if not all of them. He then tried his hand at becoming an entrepreneur – after countless rejections, mocks of the business plan, and a thousand other things besides, Jack Ma finally stumbled upon his successful venture Alibaba. Both these examples teach the same valuable lesson: success takes its own time.

The point of the two examples was of curse simple. Success rarely, “(very rarely actually) shows that most have been able to do this sum.

With the advent of social media, people today are increasingly choking more and more on the fake “perfect” lives that their friends lead on Social Media. They see their friend getting married at 24, whereas they are still struggling in an old barista job at Starbucks. Someone goes abroad, someone wins a prize, someone is just immensely beautiful and so many more “perfect life” examples; the list can go on and on and on. Success doesn’t not come to everyone at the same time. A person, who gets married at 20, may easily regret the decision when they’re well over forty. A talented doctor, could be dying on the inside every single day, because they gave up their dream on how to study, in order to pursue the degree. Therefore, someone’s measure of success on social media should definitely not be believed like they have achieved anything and everything in their lives.

Although the phenomenon of “overnight success” is widely coveted and dreamt about, please trust me when I say that it is not at all close to the reality. Behind the scenes, the person probably donated countless hours into achieving the success they have now. All people can see is the glory on the outside; no one actually knows how hard the achiever had to work before anyone else believed him.

One of the most inspirational success stories in the world has probably got to be the story of Colonel Harland Sanders. At the age of 65, the man founded a recipe for fried chicken which he began selling door to door to neighbors and family. Over a thousand different restaurants rejected him. Today Colonel Sanders is the face we associate with when thinking of finger lickin good chicken – KFC would never have been born, if an aging man hadn’t gone door to door trying to convince people of the value of the meal.

Patience, hard work, determination and planning are the four pillars of success. Luck can only get you so far; if you’re determined to make it in the long run, and become one of those people who everybody wants to be – well then, you had better get to work very soon. If one has a vision, dream, and makes the time to do the proper work that create accomplishment, then one can accomplish success.

Leaders too must recognize that each employee has something special to contribute to the organization. They must be treated with patience, respect and the right kind of support that brings out their best. Failing to do this, may cause you to lose one of the best investments you have made. Leadership is an ongoing process of support.

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Dr. Paul Gerhardt is a tenured professor of management. He is a diversity and leadership well-respected and trusted trainer who helps organizations get amazing returns on investment. Dr. Gerhardt is the author of several publications available on, including Diversity at Work, The Diversity King; Leadership Lucy and the new upcoming Leadership Handbook. Consider inviting Dr. Paul Gerhardt to do customized leadership or diversity training at your organization. Most organizations find that diversity and leadership training by the right trainer yields a significant instant return on investment. You can get your FREE COPY of the Leadership Handbook by clicking this link:


Some say he’s half man half fish, others say he’s more of a seventy/thirty split. Either way he’s a fishy bastard.