The Best Thing Medium Gives You

It could be money, in the end

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

We all end up here for different reasons.

Some of us want to develop our writing skills, others want a portfolio, exposure, a growing email list, money, you name it.

But regardless of what we want, we will not get it overnight.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful, a world where we would open the Medium editor, start writing, hit “Publish” and all our dreams came true, just like that? No, it wouldn’t.

What would be the value of success then? What would that win taste like? Would we even consider it a win at all?


Quitting Before Finishing

In my 20s, I had countless business ideas. I made 5% of those see the light of day: I created a biography-writing service, put together a magazine from scratch, set up a newsletter, and started a travel vlog. But even with those, I committed a fatal mistake: I quit too early.

As Sinem Günel puts it, “If you want to win the race, whatever that race might be for you, you first need to finish it. By jumping from race to race, you’ll not only be exhausted and confused, but you’ll never see the finish line.

Especially in our younger years, it is hard to think ahead, to not get distracted by the new, shiny idea we just had. It is hard to imagine anything on a longer-term because what we have is the here and the now. We have too much energy and too little focus.


Long-Term Thinking

Long-term thinking is hard. As humans, we have a part of our brains aching for instant gratification. “Our emotional brain has a hard time imagining the future, even though our logical brain clearly sees the future consequences of our current actions”, states Laibson, from Harvard University.

That is why we eat chocolate instead of carrots, why we sit on the couch instead of working out, and why we prefer to enjoy the day in the sun instead of spending it at our desk, writing.

Yet, mastering the skill of long-term thinking is elemental for success. As Niklas Göke beautifully writes, “Whatever you want for yourself, your business, and others, the more long-term you think, the sooner you’ll get it”.

We all know this. It’s an easy concept to understand, a much harder one to practice.


How Medium Can Help You

As most things in life worth something, being successful on Medium is a long-term game. If we exclude some exceptional cases, most people who found success here had been writing consistently for a long period before they gained traction, a lot of followers, and good money.

If you are serious about your intentions, about the goal that first got you writing on Medium in the first place, you will learn to master the skill of long-term thinking — you have no other choice.

You will know that the words you are putting on the page today are a stepping stone to a slightly better article tomorrow. The stories you write this week are the foundation on which you build the next few months. And the frustration you encounter early in your journey will give place to a sense of accomplishment in a year, once you finally start experiencing some sort of success.

But what’s excellent about Medium is that there are plenty of little wins you can have before hitting the big time. Before you have 10K followers and make $10k per month, you will be happy when you get 100 views on a story, then when you get 500, and then 1K. The first $5 will taste like the sweetest money ever, and will motivate you to double them the following month, and again, and again.

Medium is about being a little bit better every day. Until one day, the day comes. And then, your reward will not be the $10K check or the 10K followers in your mailing list; it will be the most valuable skill of all, the art of long-term thinking.


Takeaway

Regardless of your goals, being able to think long-term can help you tremendously. It will make you think carefully about your intentions before starting any project and teach you to stand up to what you believe in when the days get hard. It will let you find a sense of purpose in your daily activities, even when there is no end in sight. And it will make success much more likely for you. Not now, not very soon, but one day.

Start now, keep going, never give up!

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