I, like many other insecure overachievers, feel an urgency to do big things. Deep down I know this anxiety is rooted in fear. That I’m not actually any good. That I will waste my shot at life and be a disappointment. So I strive for a quick success because I need to validate my worth. After that I can relax and everything will be plain sailing. Right? Instead, this warped expectation more often leads me to behave in a manner that’s unsustainable and counterproductive.
It’s easy to forget that our careers extend for decades beyond our 20s and 30s. The truth is significant works usually take a long time. Whether it’s business, academia or the arts, most of the contributions made have been the result of many years of toil. It’s just that we hear of the young overnight success because that’s a more attractive narrative.
I think the same is true of companies. The “young overnight success” is a more attractive narrative than the great company which takes years to build. So the media suffers from sample bias. And that can lead entrepreneurs to unrealistic expectations and behavior which is “unsustainable and counterproductive”.