Two Seductive Illusions

Two Seductive Illusions

One of the books I’m currently reading is a biography on George Washington (His Excellency). In it, the author points out something that I think captured a pure, unfiltered glimpse into humanity. I always pause when I see that glimmer of raw humanity because it almost always applies to more of life than the small context in which it is presented.

He was describing the mindset of the opposing parties in the revolutionary war. War seems ever present in our world, whether you look at nations, or, as Steven Pressfield puts it in the War of Art. Whether in your mind or on the ground there are two beliefs that prevent us from establishing realistic expectations.

First, he points out, is the belief that the conflict will be short. Second is the belief that the moral superiority of ones position will bring success. As it turns out, they’re both lies, and they may even keep you from achieving your highest priority goals. Let’s have a closer look.

The conflict would be short

I’ll relate this first point to marketing your products on the internet. Many entrepreneurs (myself included) harbor the belief that some innovation, tactic, campaign or other mechanism will bring them fast and effective results. The only problem is that they just haven’t found it yet.

These people understand that you can’t plant a seed one evening and expect to wake up the next day to a blossoming fruitful tree. They know that you have to water it and wait. Even after it starts to grow you have to nurse it and harden it until it has strong roots. So why do they think that somehow their business will blossom overnight?

It is simply not realistic to expect that any one tactic, product or offer will shorten the road to a thriving, successful business. Just like a seed, it requires the investment of time and effort. And even then, sometimes it just doesn’t work out and you have to plant another seed or even change the ground where you’re planting it.

Did you know that to plant an orchard takes years? Literally. After you finally get trees growing, you have to pluck all the fruit off of them for the first three years, while you continue weeding, fertilizing and pruning. That doesn’t include the years before that bringing the tree from a seed, to sapling and on to the point where you could plant it in the orchard.

From a seed, you might be five or six years out before you get a piece of fruit that you can actually eat. Sure you can shortcut that and let the fruit grow sooner, but you actually decrease the lifetime output and effectiveness of the tree. By taking too soon, you limit your overall returns.

The conflict will not be short.

Raw Undisciplined Recruits vs. Veteran British Soldiers

The next mental plague that threatened the continental army from the outset was the belief that untrained, undisciplined militia could triumph over well trained, well equipped British regulars, simply because the virtue of the cause that inspired them was morally superior.

However appealing this argument may have sounded, the fact of the matter is that discipline, training, equipment and compensation play an enormous role in the potency of an attack (or even a defense).

If you’ve convinced yourself that your better idea or refined tactic will give you the upper hand against someone who’s willing to slog through three hours of content, create 50 backlinks and make 10 JV calls per day, then you’re fooling yourself. Victory favors the person that puts in the hours and is well trained.

Weekend Warrior’s Fail

Are you a weekend militia man in your business or are you a well trained, highly disciplined British regular. If you think that success will come because you deserve it, or because your idea is better or any way other than discipline and follow through, then you should think again.

The quality of your ideas, your ability to write or even the contacts you have aren’t often the most significant factors in who wins the race. The difference between you and the guy that makes it work often comes down to discipline and work.

Ditch the Two Seductive Illusions

If you really want to win this game, then learn from history and don’t give into these two seductive illusions. The conflict will not be short and you must approach your craft with discipline and training.

If you’re looking for a roadmap of exactly what to do, then you should really consider following along with this years Challenge (Ed Dale and his gang). You can find it here:

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One Response to “Two Seductive Illusions”

  1. Eric Dobson July 6, 2010 at 9:55 am #

    I heard a quote once (can’t remember who said it) that often applies. Basically the most successful people are the ones who underestimate the difficulty of a task at the outset. They’re the ones who will jump into a massive undertaking, whereas if they fully understood what they were getting into at the beginning, they probably wouldn’t bother.

    So, while it’s important not to delude yourself into expecting overnight results, a little misjudgment of difficulty isn’t the worst thing in the world, if it helps you get started. But then you must accept point #2, and press on through the true difficulties that are revealed as you go along.

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