I looked over at the large truck I was passing to my right. Stacked in the trailer behind it were wrecked cars headed to a junk yard. On the rear windshield of the last one was “JUST MARRIED!”
I can just imagine the thought now, “Well, that didn’t go according to plan,” as the new husband looks up at the smashed hood of the car. His wife looks over, concerned and frustrated. “Are we going to miss our flight?”
Life often doesn’t always go as we imagine it in our minds. We dream up all sorts of stories about how things should be and find ourselves crushed when the proverbial car of our life is being towed to the salvage lot.
I remember making the decision to change jobs about three and a half years ago. I saw an opportunity and believed I would immediately find the success I was looking for. As life often goes, I was served a large dose of humility.
I fell short of one personal goal after the next. First month, first three months, first year—all checkpoints I set for myself I came up drastically short on.
I vividly remember thinking, “This is not what I signed up for. I’m supposed to be breaking records and making lots of money.” Instead, I was working really hard and feeling like I was making no progress, like a car in mud.
“We vastly overestimate what we can do in one year and underestimate what we can do in five,” said at least five prominent thinkers as I tried to find the source of that quote.
It’s true, and I don’t know if it was determination or stubbornness, but I’m not the same person I was three and a half years ago, and my business looks much different too.
We have a tendency to give up too soon. We overgeneralize. We take small sample sizes of data and extrapolate them into huge conclusions.
This year was really hard, therefore, this opportunity sucks. This month was great, therefore, I can ease up my efforts and take my foot off the pedal. The fancy psychological term is called egocentric immediacy.
The same is true in all areas of life, relationships included. Are you in a marriage that feels “hard”? Are you telling the story so many young couples do of, “Marriage is so hard but so worth it,” the second part through gritted teeth?
Don’t give up too soon. Don’t overgeneralize the good or the bad. Don’t underestimate just how much can change in five years when you’re consistent and focused, even when it feels like nothing is ever going to get better.