Home Word of the Week Time for a non technical writing – Lower your expectations 2020

Time for a non technical writing – Lower your expectations 2020

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2020 is here already; all what we said in 2019 that as 2020 begins we would effect this and that, this is the 2020. In reality, this is completely meaningless to our lives. All it means is that the Earth has completed another orbit of the Sun, a fact that should have little impact on our lives. Despite this, however contrived it may be, we see this 2020 as a new start to some extent. It’s therefore only natural that at this time people reflect back on the previous year.

Upon doing this, people usually come to one of two conclusions.

1. Last year went badly, I want to do better this year.

2. Last year went well, I want to do even better this year.

Yes, it’s the human condition. However last year went for us we want to make sure this 2020 goes better. We want to get closer to our own personal definition of success. That definition, like I said is personal. For some it could be to lose weight and gain muscle. For others it could be to make more money. For many of my friends it will be some accomplishment relating to learning coding.

Whatever it is, I’m pretty sure I know the number 1 reason for failure in such ventures. Avoiding this common pitfall gives you a much greater chance for success in 2020 and beyond.

And this reason is: Massively underestimating the timescales required to achieve something hard.

This really struck me while I was reading an article some days ago that talks about wealth and online business. People were saying that making a full time living online is a myth. The counter this guy had was, “Find me someone who’s been working at online business for 5+ years who doesn’t make a living online, Doesn’t happen”. He went on to say that the biggest sticking point is the first year. “People expect to be hitting six figures in their first year, when they make next to nothing instead, they quit”.

I started to think about this, and how it related to other forms of success in life, from learning to code to losing weight. The negative script goes like this.

1. Person has a goal in mind

2. Person massively underestimates timescales required to reach goal, often by a factor of 5.

3. When it becomes clear that they won’t hit goal within expected timescale, not even close, they incorrectly chalk up the venture as a failure, and quit.

So let’s look at this in terms of learning to code. The timescales are made up, to show my point.

1. Dave wants to learn to code.

2. Dave expects that he can be good in 3 months; really it could take 1.5 years.

3. 2 months in, Dave still feels lost and can’t even code a working app. Dave assumes coding isn’t for him, and so quits.

Imagine instead, Dave over estimates the timescales.

1. Dave wants to learn to code.

2. Dave expects that it will take 3 years.

3. 2 months in, Dave still kind of sucks, that’s ok he still has over 2.5 years left!

4. One year in and Dave can already code small apps. He’s not an expert, but he’s competent. Time to start looking into landing a junior dev role, and he hasn’t even been doing it for 3 years!

5. By 2 years in, Dave has landed a junior dev role, and achieved more than he expected.

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The lesson is that we massively underestimate what we can achieve in that short term, and to compound this we also have a screwed up idea of what constitutes short and long term. Take 2020 for example. It’s *only* a year. In comparison to a human lifespan, that’s not all that much time.

For me, 1 year is short term. More than 5 years, approaching 10 years is long term.

My closest friends often tell me I think too small. I only think small (or as I think of it, realistically) in the short term (1 – 3 years). Longer term I think much bigger.

I had the objective of becoming the best, smart and great developer I can be for myself. I started on this objective in late 2018. Many people who had the same objective go in with the expectation of achieving it in 1 year (this is possible). Most massively fail in this timeframe, and so quit.

My timeframe is 5 years.

If it had been 1, or even 2 years I would have quit by now due to pitiful progress. Given the 5 year timeframe (more realistic expectations) I won’t even be thinking if I’m successful or not until some point in year 4 (about 3 years and 11months left). I think I’ll actually miss my target, but by the end of year 5 it will be close enough that giving up would be madness.

So this is the ‘secret’. Massively lower your expectations of what you can achieve *in the short term*. Have a process to take you towards success, and be willing to follow it, for multiple years. Think of 2020 as the start of your journey, not the year in which you need to become successful on that journey.

#expectations #salesruby #slc2020 #nontechnical