It doesn't matter if we are talking about business development, learning new skills or simply training your body or mind. Everything takes time and success is not achieved over night, even though mass media would like us to believe that.
Trust me, I love to say that everything is possible and encourage myself and others to try out everything and not to be afraid of consequences, the future or anything else.
It always comes down to what you want out of it. Becoming a best-selling author without ever writing a book is very(!) hard. Becoming fluent in a foreign language by using a study book as a pillow, I don't think it will work, sorry.
This is a universal problem that I encounter regularly: When you're really pumped to do Z, but you are not willing to go through A-Y for it.
What most of us, myself included, forget is, that only through the journey you can achieve the end point of your endeavors and anything less might not make you happy or successful.
Here are some examples from my life that I find are profoundly build on the time spending to achieve something rather than on the achievement itself:
Getting a degree
So the usual perception of getting your degree is "Yeah, I made it! I will never have to learn anything again, I'am O-U-T, out!". Well, this was never my goal to begin with, what I really took from the last 5 years studying was to learn about myself and how I learn, what I like about it and which topics actually interest me. With that being said, it was crucial for me to learn this, because I studied while I was working. So, not only was I learning in University, I was learning at work as well and that put a lot of things in perspective and gave me an edge, because now I'm able to learn for myself and I can appreciate and value a lifestyle that embraces it.
Learning to play an instrument
Learning an instrument and I think most of you had at least an episode of that in your childhood, is hard work. It takes a lot of time and a lot of attention to get really, really good. But guess what, one of the most famous musicians can't even read sheet music. FYI after 10+ years of doing music as a hobby, I still can't read anything, because I don't need it. My goal is clear and my learning in that regard was/is based on learning to play along with my favorite songs and creating my own music. For both, in the age of Youtube, you don't have to be able to read music. In fact, learning to play the guitar is one of those rare things that might not happen over night, but might just take a few weeks to become decent at it. That is because most songs are based on 4 basic chords or even less. So, it doesn't really depend on age or talent, anybody can learn four chords and play their favorite songs quickly. To give you some sense of frame, have a look at the video below, that show you just a small part of those four chord songs:
Don't be discouraged, learning an instrument does beautiful things to your brain and you might get some really good creativity out of it. Here is an interesting article about it: http://www.fastcompany.com/3022942/work-smart/the-surprising-science-behind-what-music-does-to-our-brains
Learning new languages
Learning a new language takes time and even if you try to hack it as much as possbile (look up Tim Ferriss for that: http://fourhourworkweek.com/2009/01/20/learning-language/) you need to be focused and determined. The ever growing speed of things, be it your internet connection or the release of a new iPhone makes us believe that everything else has to go faster as well. The next big leap might come through VR or chips implanted in your skull to give you new speech abilities on a button's press, but today most people will still need to study and practise.
So my basic advice, beyond being patient, when you learn a new language is to start small and step by step. You have a great tool, namely your smartphone, that offers a variety of apps to help you learn. I personally use Duolingo or Babbel to finally get some French done. And even so the progress is long and ongoing, step by step you will learn to decipher what you hear in the app, or in a movie or on the street.
The key is to find the right strategy for you. Consider these two scenarios:
1) Idea: I buy a big book on how to learn French and study it everyday.
Reality: I buy the book, look inside twice and stop learning all together.
2) Idea: I download an app and see if I can do 5-10 minutes everyday on some basic practises.
Reality: I've been doing it for 70+ days now and I feel confident of my progress and the future development.
Editor's note 29.12.2016:
I just stumbled upon a helpful infographic about quickly learning a new language that might help you on your journey by https://upgradedpoints.com. Check it out:
In the end, it depends on you
As you can see, there are ways to hack the system, but patience plays a rule in every game. Let me leave you with one other personal example on how things take their time. I've been trying out different diets and activities to get in shape, and by saying "in shape" I mean mostly to reduce back pain and beeing out of breath when taking more than 2 flights of stairs at a time. After 18 months or so, now is the first time that I see the first real results. That is not because I'm inefficient, it is because I don't want to become strong quickly, but sustainably.
So my achievement is not only that I managed to erase pain, I also achieved to integrate a regular workout into my daily routine which I won't abandon that easily. The only downside, it took patience.
What is your best advise on patience? Feel free to share some knowledge in the comment section below!
Take care and thanks for reading!