Ten Years of Silence

It takes 10 years to become an overnight success. 

Social media gives us a false impression of the success of others. On social media, we see other people’s success. It’s a highlight reel. But we rarely see their failures or all the hard work involved. 

We see trophies, not sweat. We see diplomas, not homework. We see performances, not rehearsals.

James Clear once wrote: “When your screen is filled examples of the strongest, richest, and smartest, it’s easy to overvalue the outcome and undervalue the process… The success you see others experiencing is rarely as sexy as it appears to be.”

As Naval Ravikant says: “It takes 10 years to build a career in anything.”

Our society romanticizes moments of insight. But eureka moments occur because of all the work leading us to them. The takeaway: Action stimulates inspiration more often than inspiration stimulates action.” 

I’m always inspired by this photo of Jeff Bezos from 1997. 


Today — twenty years later — Jeff Bezos is worth ~$120 billion. 

Build the foundation early so the gains can come later. 

This is called “The Ten Years of Silence.” High production of work with very little recognition. Research backs this up. 

John Hayes, a professor at Carnegie Mellon once studied thousands of musical pieces between 1685 and 1900. His work was driven by a single question: “How long does it take to become a world-class musician?”

Every composition was written at least a decade after the musicians started to take their work seriously. There were only 3 exceptions, (written in years 8 and 9). In a follow up studies of poets and painters, he found the same result. 

To be sure, there are exceptions like athletes and musicians. “Timing, perseverance, and 10 years of trying will eventually make you look like an overnight success.”–Biz Stone

Ten Years of Silence.