How Sudden is Sudden Success?


One year ago, Whatsapp was acquired by Facebook. People, especially mainstream media, said Jan Koum, the co-founder, became an overnight success.

Success is indeed impressive and attractive. It comes with lots of attention, plenty of perks, an increased level of popularity etc. Many times I’ve seen people become successful ‘overnight’.  But come to think of it, does success really happen overnight or suddenly? Since many people do not understand the process that leads to outstanding success, some are tempted to sit by, waiting for their own train of overnight success to stop at their doorstep, as though it’s an Alice in Wonderland experience.

When Dustin Moskovitz, Facebook co-founder was asked how he felt about Facebook’s overnight success, he replied,

If by ‘overnight success’ you mean staying up and coding all night, every night for six years straight, then it felt quite tiring
and stressful.

E. A. Adeboye wrote,

Some sudden promotions are a result of a hidden period of conscientious, deliberate and sustained work of excellence.

Finally, Mike Murdock said,

The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine.


Summarily, overnight success isn’t usually by a sudden process.

What are you doing regularly to help you change that unpleasant job soon?
What are you doing daily to attain academic excellence?
What are you doing regularly to be be the healthy person you dream to be?
What are you doing daily to reduce that weight that’s become a concern?
What are you doing daily to earn that coveted promotion?

Luck is really opportunity meeting you prepared for it. So, what quiet price are you paying daily to get lucky?

Do you have any experience that illustrates this? Please share it.

6 thoughts on “How Sudden is Sudden Success?”

  1. Major (and sustained) success comes from the will to be successful, not praise. You want to do better, and you commit to it; success will follow with persistence. What improvement comes from awards?…

    1. I quite agree with you. Intrinsic motivation produces more lasting success than extrinsic motivation. People who are self motivated produce more sustainable success. Since external conditions are likely to change with time, those who depend only on external awards for motivation might have inconsistent performance.
      Nonetheless, awards are rewards that could help a larger number of people to aim for excellence in an organization.

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