Never give up—take a lesson from the Cheesecake Factory

They’ve done studies, you know. And they’ve found that most people give up just when they are about to break through. How do they know this if the people gave up first? Well, they know from the people who didn’t give up. These were the successful ones who said they felt like giving up most strongly just before big things happened.

Why is this?

Perhaps a construction analogy would help in understanding. Have you ever paid attention to a site where a large building is going up? I live downtown, amidst a plethora of construction projects, and I’m always paying attention, mostly because big construction projects fascinate me. But I’ve actually been learning a lot about life from a recent project just down the street from where I live.

I think they’re building a Cheesecake Factory restaurant and some apartments. I can’t be sure, because there are no signs, but if that’s true, then we’re gonna have some problems. Have you ever had a slice of their cheesecake? It’s out of this world.

But I digress. What was I talking about? Ah yes—what I learned. Back in the spring they tore out a section of shops on that street and dug a huge hole. But since then, it’s really just been a hole with a fence around it. For the last six months, it’s appeared as though absolutely nothing was happening. Yet every day, through gaps in the fence, I could see workers and equipment milling about inside the hole.

But suddenly this week, a building just appeared out of nowhere. The steel beams that formed the first of who-knows-how-many-floors just sprang out of the ground. The next day, the second floor. Then the third.

So I learned one of two things. Either that the workers had been on an extended coffee break since March, and just decided to start working this week, or—the more likely explanation—that the last six months were spent laying the groundwork for this building, this building that part of me hopes is a Cheesecake Factory and the other part of me prays isn’t.

And so it is with life, whether we’re talking about your writing career, your business, or any of your hopes and dreams. During the time you’re laying the foundation, it may feel like nothing is happening, when in fact, nothing could be further from the truth.

The lesson here is don’t give up. Because quite frankly, if I were the one financing this particular construction project (and if I didn’t know the first thing about construction), I might wait three or four months, see that my building was still a hole, and tell them I’m cutting the funding—completely ignorant of the fact that most of what goes into erecting a huge structure like this is the foundational work.

Bottom line: start somewhere and don’t get discouraged—even if you don’t feel like you’re making progress right away. A good place to start is on Day 1 of #365daynovel, a learning program that helps you write, publish, and sell your first novel in 365 days.

Learn more here, and happy writing!

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