Quite recently, I had the opportunity to be in the office of a very successful businessman in this country. In his presence, I tried to ask him to give me an idea of his journey, how long it took him to achieve success, what he had to do and the challenges he faced along the way. He showed me some of his olden day’s pictures, and there I gained wisdom and understood his path to success and greatness had been long as it took him several years to arrive at his current pedestal.

Indeed, there are similar stories of men and women chronicled in our newspapers or in the history of our daily lives who have achieved success not overnight but through many years of hard work and whose journey to success have been full of failures, challenges and difficult times but with patience and determination they have achieved their goals and are living their dreams and enjoying the fruits of their labor.

Take for instance, Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man, and the Dangote Group. We all point with pride to the achievement of this great African business magnate and his successful business, but how many have stopped to consider his journey and the things he had to endure and the sacrifices he had to make to build his life and the business to its current beauty and glory? This did not happen overnight and he is not an overnight success. It is refreshing to note that Aliko Dangote has been in business for forty years counting which presupposes that it took him over forty good years to build the business to its current level.

Similarly, the great and famous companies we see today which are impressively doing well and have become multinationals were not built overnight and are not instant success stories but have been operated for decades, if not centuries for them to arrive at where they are today.

The Mistake of Young People

Success in life is the heart desire of many as we all dream of achieving great exploits at one time or the other. Young people are not left out on this noble desire to achieve something with their lives, but they are in a hurry to make it happen overnight. They are in a hurry to succeed and are therefore not patient enough to go through the process. They see successful people do the things they do, drive what they drive, and eat what they eat and live in places and choice locations they live in, and they want the same for themselves overnight.
Perhaps, forgetting that these people they admire and want to be like started from somewhere and they did not arrive at where they are today overnight. The stories of successful people reveal most of them at one point in their lives had no decent accommodation, no food to eat, no fine clothes on their back, no money in their pockets, wore worn out shoes and more often than not walked and used the public transport until such a time they broke through in life.

It is a true assertion that with the rapid pace of technology and it’s accompanying impact on society with speed and instantaneity of everything, young people are no longer patient to subject their desires for success to the process of time. They want success and they want it now. Many are in a hurry to start a business today and be on the front pages of newspapers and magazines tomorrow. They want to start a music career today and make it onto the television screens today. They want to finish the university tomorrow and drive luxurious cars and live the expensive lifestyle of the rich and the wealthy overnight, and they want to start a ministry or church and overnight record a thousand member congregation.

However, learning from the pages of history teaches us that success and greatness are products of time. Nobody succeeds in life overnight. No matter how urgent a woman wants a baby, she cannot deliver one in three months. If she wants it, she has to go through the process and be patient for nine months to have one. It takes time to build a successful business, and it takes time to build a successful life. Success has phases and stages it goes through.

Dangers of Overnight Success

Success needs preparation and as one goes through the stages and phases, he gets himself prepared. When you wish for an overnight success, you won’t be mentally prepared and experienced enough to deal with the fame and the fortune and you will crash and burn. I have seen in this country young men and women with promising futures who came on the scene prematurely without proper preparation and today are nowhere to be found. They had a very short career and have disappeared into thin air.

When you are not prepared to handle a lot of money before you come into money, chances are that you may not be able to handle the money well and you may even kill yourself before your time. This accounts for the reason why many who had money yesterday are today broke and begging. Wishing to become successful very quickly or unexpectedly is a trap that will destroy.

Success Is a Product of Time

Greatness does not happen instantly. It takes time to happen as success and greatness is a product of time. Joseph in the Bible came into his greatness 17 years after his preparation, and the same can be said of David after his 20 years of preparation to become king. During this period, these men were worked on through the process of time to take their place in destiny. Any great destiny takes time to happen and in life, anything great goes through phases and stages to become great.
You must learn to give God time and give yourself time and not be in a hurry. Anything that happens overnight also quickly disappears overnight.

Paying the Price

Any rise in life has a price to pay. You know what to do, you have the desire to do it and you are willing to do it.

Young people must be ready to pay the price as nothing good comes cheap. They must avoid the temptation and the deception to get big overnight. So many people know what to do to become successful but do not want to commit themselves to doing it and are therefore looking for the shortcuts. What you do not pursue never think to possess. As young people, you can get anything as long as you are ready to pay its price as nothing comes for free.

Men and women who have become great are also those who made sacrifices for their greatness. You must be willing to make sacrifices for the things you want today so that tomorrow you will have what others do not have. Get busy, the success you desire is possible, but it will not come for free. You got to pay something for its manifestation. Avoid the overnight success mentality and be ready to work for it. Yes, you can become successful.

By Charles Anyomi
Founder/President, Africa Entrepreneur Conference


  1. Dear Charles,

    It is a thought provoking truth, honestly I have embedded it in my system as I am on that journey and always record the very small thing that I get to achieve everyday no matter how small it is i always embrace it and rejoice.

    Well spoken.

    Best regards,


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