Picture this: you’re a bright eyed teen, 16 years old. You have dreams of becoming a singer and touring the country and the world, you want fame and fortune and to share your music with everyone.

You decide to kick start your career by entering a singing competition called Australian Idol, this giant opportunity is going to help you with your dream. You enter the competition and make it through the auditions, you even make it to the final, then you win the final!

Over the next two years you release a platinum single, an album and get nominated for an ARIA Award for highest selling single. That’s a lot of dollars and a lot of fame.

Then over the following years you fall into obscurity almost as quickly as you rose.

if you want to get and keep good things in life expect it to take time

Why things that happen quickly usually don’t last

This is what happened to Casey Donovan, who at 16 won season 2 of Australia Idol. She went from an unknown amateur singer to superstar singer in the space of a season of Australian Idol: four months and one week.

Unfortunately for her, and for reasons unknown, after two years her record contract wasn’t renewed and since her “five minutes of fame” she’s never enjoyed the same success as her two years in the spotlight.

Do you want to know why her household name slowly became forgotten? It’s because after season 2 of Australian Idol there was a season 3, then a season 4, then 5, all the way up to season 7. Year after year after year they were pumping out new stars, and virtually all of them suffered the same fate as Casey: super quick stardom to driving an Uber around the city within the space of a few years (not that there’s anything wrong with Uber drivers, I think they’re really cool).

My point is that if it’s too good to be true, it probably is, and anything that will last will take time to build, and I’ll show you why in a second.

By contrast look at singers like Madonna, Tina Turner or Snoop Dog. They took the long road and have enjoyed decades long success in their fields. I feel the pattern is that it’s always the things that are slowly worked at, over time, that have true lasting results. Be it building a relationship, establishing your career, losing weight, studying more, looking inwards for self-betterment, sex or the hundreds of others more.

Thailand monks
Monks are often associated with being happy and at peace

For anything worth while, expect it to take a while

The example of Casey Donovan has nothing to do with talent. She is obviously very talented. But what if she had approached her career the ‘old school’ way and spent time building up a fan base, gigging and slowly doing bigger and bigger venues like, for example Kate Miller-Heidke?

Kate has slowly grown her career over decades and she’s seen resounding success, especially when compared to Casey’s two years at the top. I went to university with Kate, we both studied music together. I saw her give her first uni performance, which was just her and a pianist in a lecture hall at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music. From her time at uni and since graduating she has slowly built her brand, and now she’s doing amazingly.

Do you see the difference here? Kate took ages, Casey took four months and one week.

Things that take time to achieve will last a lot longer

It’s the same with lottery winners, sort of

A recent Swedish study showed that winning the lottery didn’t necessarily make the winners any happier. Imagine suddenly coming into $1 million, or $5 million, or $50 million, you’d be over the moon right?

You would be for a few weeks or months, but once the honeymoon period wore off you’d mostly likely go back to how you were feeling before you won. In fact it was shown in the survey that the winners were neither less or more happy after winning, than they were before they won.

Compare that to a different study which showed that a continual increase of wealth corresponded with a continual increase in happiness. That’s why it’s better to get $10,000 dollars a year for 10 years, rather than a lump sum payment of $150,000. It’s the long term and sustained income which makes us feel better. Not the larger lump sum payment.

Again it’s long term vs short time, and it’s always the long term which has the more positive results.

time forever Dan of the World

Think about your life

Take a moment to think about some really good things in your life. How many of them happened overnight? Or in the space of a week or month? I bet the answer is zero, or very, very few.

Once we realise that good things take time it manages our expectations, dramatically reduces our disappointments and takes the pressure off us to do it quickly.

We do live in a time where everything is instant. Think of memes, particularly planking. Planking is where you simply lay flat on something, or become a plank and take a photo of it. Cabin crew took photos of themselves planking on empty planes, construction workers did it and so did thousands of others.

Planking came and went and now where is it? It’s that stupid thing that feels like it happened 50 years ago.

With anything worthwhile it will come slowly. Let go of the fact that you want everything instantly. instant things rarely last

Fat and tubes

Here’s another example of things happening quickly that have no lasting results: Think of a person who is overweight and wants to look good, but doesn’t want to put in the effort of looking good. That person might go and literally get the fat sucked out of their body with a tube.

Think about that for a moment, how crazy is that? I know this is a more extreme example but people do do it. They will have the fat sucked out of their body by a machine. What do they hope to achieve with this? Apart from being thinner for a short period of time before the fat builds up again?

Compare that to someone who goes on a diet and does exercise to lose the weight. They’re much more likely to achieve lasting results, plus have the benefit of feeling great for their achievement.

Good things take time. Remember that and your motivation and drive will grow as you do

So what’s the secret?

The secret to getting and keeping good things in your life is to work for what you want, and realise that if it’s truly to be good and lasting it will take time to build.

Once you get it, whatever it is, it’s much more likely to last if it takes time to build


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