Success in whatever way you define it takes time. Along with a commitment to your big goals, you also need patience. Developing expertise in your career or a sport will take many years of hard work and deliberate practice. You need to make a rough long-term plan based on how others have achieved your goal and a detailed short-term plan for getting to the next step.

Patience. the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious.

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It can be challenging to focus on what you need to do now to lay the foundations for where you need to be in a year or two. Many people choose to jump ahead when they get impatient or bored with the current rate of progress. Skipping steps may include looking for short cuts or hacks that are sold as reducing the learning curve to a fraction of the time by people who may never have achieved the goal you are after or who are trying to make money from your impatience.

If you want to run a sub-three-hour marathon, you need to start building up to running five or six times per week, then increasing mileage to 40 to 50 miles per week, and then developing the speed and stamina needed to hold 4:16 minutes per kilometre for 26.2 miles. Just building the consistency of running six days per week might take a year or two to let your muscles and ligaments get used to the new stress of the constant pounding.

Building up the skills and experience to be an expert in your career might take even longer than getting to a good performance level in a sport. The digitisation of the workplace means that most career paths require a significant set of multi-disciplinary skills to perform at a high level. Working as a learning designer in HE, for instance, requires you to be an expert in learning theory, multimedia production, and design, each of which is a complex area made up of multiple skill sets.

You especially need patience in the early stages of a career when working in an entry-level post that does not have the variety and rewards that positions higher up the ladder offers. You need the patience to develop the foundational skills in the first rung of the ladder before being effective in the next rungs up. You may be fully committed to your career, but patience is needed to keep the sustained effort over many years as you progress.

Patience is developed daily by focusing on the task at hand and learning to enjoy the journey rather than focusing on the final success you are working towards. You need to be aware of your impatience, constantly focus on the current step, create detailed plans for the next few months, and let the long-term goal look after itself. Cultivate patience in your life will not only get you to your destination more quickly, but it will also make the journey more fun.


Most things of value in life come through commitment, whether it is building expertise in your career, developing high levels of physical performance, or maintaining relationships with family and friends. Like integrity, loyalty, duty, and responsibility, commitment is about doing what you said you would do.

Commitment: the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc.

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Today is my 150th post putting me three-quarters of the way through my commitment to blog for 200 straight days. This commitment to developing the habit of writing was connected to a bigger multi-year goal of becoming a person of influence in my industry. A big goal, a detailed plan, and a commitment to honouring both in your daily habits are essential to success.

I have gradually been developing my commitment over the last eighteen months through a series of increasingly larger goals. I started with simple daily habits like cleaning the kitchen each night before I sleep, following every workout of a twelve-week running plan, and setting ambitious, year-long projects with set outcomes at work.

If you want to develop commitment in your own life, start with a small daily habit like cleaning the kitchen each night or making your bed each morning. Once you have embedded that practice, set a three-month goal, make a plan that involves a daily action, and do it. Develop a character of commitment.