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By Carl Woolston

Whether we're talking about the narrow and outdated version of strictly material wealth, or the new, broader, more holistic meaning of making a difference and influence, success must be built over time.

I want to build things that last.

Family relationships are paramount to me. My experience tells me they must be built consciously and deliberately; they don't just happen.

Likewise, solid careers, reputations, and businesses must be built over time, as well as strong societies and government.

There is no such thing as "instant" success.

Many gurus will tell you that they have the "secret to success." I'm sorry to break the news to you, but there is no such secret.

Success comes through hard work applied to the correct actions, executed over time. And the time is not minutes or even days.

You've all undoubtedly heard of the blockbuster movie and book The Secret. Some good concepts can be extracted from it, such as needing vision to create anything of lasting value, and the power of our thoughts.

However, the movie largely ignores the necessity of work and effort over time.

Natural laws existed long before gurus ever discovered them.

Farmers, for example, have been following natural laws for centuries. You can't plant lettuce in the morning and expect to have a green salad in the afternoon.

It takes hard work (attention and effort), correct actions (water and nutrients), and time. Try and violate these and you'll fail.

Many times we get excited about a powerful insight or idea that points us in the right direction. Then, when we act on that idea, we expect immediate results.

Those incredible moments should be written and cherished. But the limelight and excitement will often fade over time as you realize that there is hard work ahead of you.

Through experience I've learned that we must work with God and align with his personal plan for us. We must choose our projects carefully.  We should also consult and discuss ideas with like-minded people who can help us from their experience. Having this sounding board or council can save one years of effort and financial problems.

As William George Jordan wrote:

"Everything that is great in life is the product of slow growth; the newer, and greater, and higher, and nobler the work, the slower is its growth, the surer is its lasting success. Mushrooms attain their full power in a night; oaks require decades. A fad lives its life in a few weeks; a philosophy lives through generations and centuries. If you are sure you are right, do not let the voice of the world, or of friends, or of family swerve you for a moment from your purpose."

Let's build families, relationships, businesses, and societies that are "built to last." Oh, and let's all remember to enjoy the journey!

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