I was browsing Facebook the other day, and one of the first things that popped up on my newsfeed was a marketing ad. The tagline read something like this: How One Marketer Used a Single Facebook Fan Page to Generate 49k Targeted Leads in 30 Days…WITHOUT a Website or Product!

It dawned on me how many of these sexy, get-rich-quick, flashy headlines we see every day, promising the results in weeks that usually take years.

Maybe these articles get clicks and impressions, I don’t know. They don’t get mine. Think about it – when has following a get-rich-scheme ever been a good strategy?

There’s a reason for this. It’s called The Law of the Harvest.

The Law of the Harvest

You don’t control outcomes of your life. Principles do.” –Benjamin P. Hardy

Imagine 2 farmers, each with a large farmland.

The first farmer begins waking up before sunrise every day. He plants seeds, spreads fertilizer, monitors the soil, protects the plants from parasites, and creates an environment for the plants to thrive.

It’s not sexy. He’s dirty, exhausted, and his routines are…boring. Nothing changes for months.

The second farmer takes a different approach.

Instead of starting to work on the farm as soon as possible, he waits, putting in no work at all. Then, just before the harvest, he begins to work, feverishly. He rarely sleeps. He does the work of 10 men –  planting and sowing and cleaning and monitoring and observing and planning.

Then the harvest comes.

…What do you imagine the second farmer’s crops looked like?

We can’t cheat nature

There are natural laws that govern our lives that we cannot bypass. You cannot “make” plants grow faster than they are able. The Law of the Harvest dictates if you sow and plant seeds, you will experience a bountiful harvest when the plants are ready.

If you do not plant seeds according to the Law’s demands, then you will receive no harvest.

The first farmer has a bountiful crop, enough to feed his family and survive on for months, well into the next harvest season.

Despite all his work, the second farmer’s crops aren’t even a few inches tall yet. There’s nothing to harvest. He can’t “catch up” on a natural process that won’t speed up for anyone.

Jesus told a story about this exact principle:

A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain — first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.” -Mark 4

There are higher powers at work here.

Long Term Consistency vs. Short Term Intensity

Long-term consistency beats short-term intensity.” -Bruce Lee

The second farmer was working on a literally impossible task — to force plants to blossom in 1 month when they need 10.

There are laws of nature you can’t just bypass. There are no shortcuts, sexy “5 Steps to Overnight Success!,” or get-rich-quick schemes to achieve lasting, great success.

You can’t build trust in a day — it takes years.

Rome wasn’t built in a day.

You can’t harvest an entire crop sown a month ago — it takes a whole year to grow.

That tagline I read, the one about the “49k targeted leads in 30 days!” promise…

That’s the second farmer.

Avoid the Temptation to Cut Corners

The tempting but ultimately dead-end voice in your head claims there is a way to achieve the success you want without having to work hard. It’s a trap we’ve been falling for for centuries.

Even if that was possible (because sure, there are stories here and there like that), I imagine the success wasn’t achieved through sustainable means; it probably involved uncommon good luck and perfect timing within rare circumstances out of your control that can’t be repeated.

The outcome is always the same:

The system always reflects the work that was put in to sustain it.

There Are No Shortcuts

Unfortunately, that’s what we’re promised on a daily basis.

But it’s not true.

The thought of all that hard work — waking up early, slowly planting another hundred seeds out of millions with no discernible progress — that’s not sexy. “That’s not what going to get me to where I want to go, when I want to be there.

You’re right. It’s not.

The sneaky, unsexy but powerful truth about achieving success is that it takes a long time.

The Unsexy But Powerful Truth About Success

Do you want the real truth about achieving success?

It takes a long damn time.

Consider this. if you had to choose, which would you pick,: $1 million dollars right now, or a penny that doubles in value for a month?

The short-term strategy says take the $1 million. But guess who how much that penny becomes over a month?

$10.7 million dollars.

Growth happens at the end, after you’ve put in the work.

One day, your penny turns from a few cents to few bucks. Then another day, a few bucks to a few hundred. After that, there’s no telling how far you’ll go.

When he was a teenager, Tim Raue was an outcast, a loser, a former gang banger with a dream to become a chef. Because his home location on his resume was in a bad part of town, most restaurants just passed on him, fearing bad behavior. He was forced to work at the only places he could get hired —at the seediest, dirtiest, roughest restaurants.

He outworked everybody. If the sous-chef was too slow, Raue was there with the dish already made. If the food server was slacking off, Raue delivered the food himself. Slowly but surely, he began rising through the ranks, outworking and outperforming everyone, on every task, no matter how dirty or unappealing.

He’s now the head chef at Restaurant Tim Raue in Berlin, one of the World’s Top 50 Restaurants.

Success = hard work over time. There’s no shortcut.

The Longer Way Is Fastest

The idea of “overnight success” is even more tempting because the opposite — long, hard work — seems so unappealing.

But another sneaky truth about success is that the longer way is actually the fastest.

Any exponential curves look small at the beginning. Your first week or two of a new fitness plan, your first blog posts, your first attempts at riding a bike. It can seem like no progress is being made at all. This is where most people give up.

When you start a new habit, the effects are always minor and hard to see at first. But over time, those small changes become major changes. This is where the sudden, surprising results come from. One day, you’re just plugging along with your usual routine, and bam! You see the beginnings of some extraordinary results.

Years of practice, development, and hard work. Unsexy. Bland. Boring.

But powerfully effective.

When people say God blessed me with a beautiful jump shot, it really pisses me off. I tell those people, ‘Don’t undermine the work I’ve put in every day.’ Not some days. Every day.” -Ray Allen

Small things become big things.

If you plant big dreams and just do the work daily, you will experience actual and exponential progress towards your goals.


Anthony Moore is the Founder of StuffGradsLike.com where he coaches 20 and 30somethings to achieve success in career, finances, and passion.