Someone recently told me it takes 21 days to form a habit. If you want to take up running, or fitness, or a diet, there seems to be a psychological tipping point after 21 days where something becomes a habit. Interupt this new rhythm too early and the habit won’t take.
Malcolm Gladwell, in his book Outliers, argues that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert on anything:
“Gladwell repeatedly mentions the “10,000-Hour Rule”, claiming that the key to success in any field is, to a large extent, a matter of practicing a specific task for a total of around 10,000 hours.”
Seasoned investors and entrepreneurs know that it takes years to become an overnight success. When founders are thinking about starting companies they tend to think in months rather than years. That makes sense because the future is hard to predict and so looking ahead too far just makes it more likely that you will be wrong.
One thing about the future however is certain; it will take longer than you think.
You will need to be persistent in what you do and have the patience to keep doing what you do. We started “The Next Web” six years ago but the company it sprung from was founded in 2001. We have been doing this work for 10 years now and only now things seem to start paying off.
Persistence, endurance and the ability to do the same thing for years on end is a very important, and often underestimated, part of being an entrepreneur.
Woody Allen famously said “Eighty percent of success is showing up”. That is where it all starts at and where most people fail. But we could add a word to that quote to make it even more true:
“Eighty percent of success is consistently showing up”
The risk of being persistent is that you become stubborn. More on that in my next post.