This essay could be a long-winded way of saying “good things come to those who wait.” But the saying isn’t fool proof – waiting can easily lead to decay.
What It Takes
“Patience is waiting. Not passively waiting. That is laziness. But to keep going when the going is hard and slow – that is patience. The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.”
— Leo Tolstoy
Why It’s Hard
“Well, we must wait for the future to show.”
— Virginia Woolf
Or, as Navy SEALs will tell you, “Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast.”
Why It’s Worth It
“The first rule of compounding is to never interrupt it unnecessarily.”
— Charles Munger
“Mercenaries are driven by paranoia; missionaries are driven by passion. Mercenaries think opportunistically; missionaries think strategically. Mercenaries go for the sprint; missionaries go for the marathon. Mercenaries focus on their competitors and financial statements; missionaries focus on their customers and value statements. Mercenaries are bosses of wolf packs; missionaries are mentors or coaches of teams. Mercenaries worry about entitlements; missionaries are obsessed with making a contribution. Mercenaries are motivated by the lust for making money; missionaries, while recognizing the importance of money, are fundamentally driven by the desire to make meaning.”
If you work very hard toward a goal you believe in, conclude that there is nothing worthwhile to do in the moment, and have the discipline to be patient while trusting that the time to act will come, you’re building energy and potential – the ingredients necessary to compound. Our experience and our mindset tell us that being good consistently for a long time is more valuable than being great for a short period of time, even if sprints of greatness get more attention.