Moving Nevada Forward

in support of higher education


Become an Overnight Success


Do you really believe there is such a thing?

Personally, I like the saying…

It takes twenty years to become an overnight success.”

Eddie Cantor

We often hear about companies or individuals becoming an overnight success, but there is usually more to the story if you dig a little deeper.

Mozart started writing music at age six, however much of his masterwork was not composed until he was 21.

Facebook was founded in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg, but it didn’t join the Fortune 500 list until 2012.

Apple Inc., started in 1976 and spent many years with rocky sales and a low market share before Steve Jobs returned to the company and became CEO in 1997.  It wasn’t until the introduction of the iPod in 2001 that Apple really started to become what seemed like overnight success.  In 2012, it was the largest publicly traded corporation in the world.  It took 25 years to reach this level of success.

The lead developer of Gmail, Paul Buchheit notes that the success of Gmail was a long time coming.  They started working on it in 2001, and most everyone disliked it.  Even after it was launched insiders were predicting its doom.  Today there is over 400 million active Gmail users and growing.

Even Selena Gomez  had to start somewhere by making her debut on Barney and Friends in 2002.  She didn’t have her first top 10 hit until 2013.

The truth is it takes years to become an overnight success.

Most elite performers follow a process.  In John Maxwell’s book, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership:

1. Success is like building wealth, it doesn’t happen overnight.  It is created by a steady, day-by-day long term effort.  It takes time to build momentum.

2. Great leaders continually invest in their own self-development.  It’s a life long process that helps you grow and develop.  Many of today’s great leaders have been working on becoming  leader for years.  Maxwell says at 51 he was still waiting, but had been working on it for 30 years.

3. Overnight success is the result of self-discipline, perseverance, and momentum built up over time.  Everyone has to start out as a beginner before they become an expert.  You may not have the knowledge, skills, or abilities in the beginning, but developing a consistent habit of preparation results in greatness overtime.

There really is no such thing as an overnight success.  It is rare.  The mere notion of an overnight success can be misleading,  discouraging and demotivating to most people.  If you are starting something new, you may be a lucky one hit wonder, but you should expect a long journey and hard work along the way.

Don’t give up the dream, just realize that time, preparation, perseverance, positivity are key to your long-term success.

What’s Your Story?  How long did it take you to become an overnight success?