Success is not a gleaming, shiny mountain. It’s a pile of mistakes you’re standing on instead of buried under – Dave Ramsey
There is a bias towards the easy over the difficult. Although innocent, it can condition us to seek out quick fixes as a default, even when such an action may cause dire consequences. The quick-fix mentality has become what scratches the itch for many looking for shortcuts toward success. With shorter attention spans, we are readily susceptible to the low-hanging fruit of quick fixes that promise solutions or “hacks,” which in the long term program our minds to side step long term solutions that make us yawn. This mentality is perhaps at the heart of many addictions and financial debt. We get hooked on what remedies are in the short term but in the long term leave us worse off. Unfortunately, many quick fixes are surface-level. James Clear put it best,
“Remove the branches of a thorn bush today, and you’ll avoid a scrape this year. But next year, you’ll face the same problem again.
Remove the root of the bush today, and the entire plant will die.
Are you solving problems at the branch level or the root level?”
When we major in quick fixes for the sake of speed and at the expense of prudence, we may become oblivious to obvious dangers that lay ahead.
Stay the Course
Some quick fixes work. For example, krazy glue is a quick fix to repair a broken chair. However, a leaky sink or toilet may require more than glue for a longer-lasting solution.
Krazy glue is not an effective solution to live a significant life. There are no silver bullets. As the introductory quote from Dave Ramsey reminds us, mistakes and failures are part of the journey of life. These scars inform us that life is not an incubation but, at times, can be a jungle, and scars are unavoidable. We don’t grow by seeking silver bullets. We are most effective when we choose to do things the right way, even when it takes longer and detours happen. Sometimes life zigs when you expect it to zag and vice versa. We don’t realize a dream because we took one giant step, but we took multiple small steps and kept going even in the face of failure and disappointment. In the end our steadfastness and focus is recognized when we reach the goal we set out to accomplish.
Can It Stand the Fire?
Current NBA star Ja Morant was recently named the Most Improved Player. Nobody thought he would make such great strides in such a short time. For five years, Morant worked hard in obscurity, daily putting in the work that we now see on display as he amazes us on the hardwood and has the Memphis Grizzlies playing elite basketball. Morant will be the first to tell you his ascent is not a silver bullet. Instead, Morant talks about developing in a place that many people have an aversion to; the dark. For five hours a day, Ja honed his craft. Away from the limelight, Morant worked on his shooting, passing, and defense. The jaw-dropping moves we now see are the offspring of greatness cultivated in obscurity. In the furnace of the playoffs, where it’s win or go home, Morant is proof that the long road to significance is not paved with gold but with discipline, focus, and a determination to stand on top of your mistakes, failures, and disappointments not buried by them.
Final Thought: Quick fixes are attractive but not always appropriate to solve a problem or reach a goal. Don’t abandon the long game approach because a quick fix appears to be the panacea for all your problems or the key to reaching your goal. Don’t look for the magic pill but develop the discipline and habits to create authentic and lasting growth or solutions. Progress is not always fast but like Morant, trust the process no matter how long it takes.
Keep on keeping on!