Keep Stacking Bricks

Adam Entrepreneurship, Personal Improvement 19 Comments

I like to think that I’m Barney Stinson (How I Met Your Mother) and that when I’m sad, I can just be awesome instead, but it doesn’t always work that way.

This has been a down week. Nothing particularly bad happened. Nobody died. I’m not sick. We’re all ok.

But one side project I’ve been working on seems a bit stuck, and while I put a ton of effort in to guest posts recently (and thank you to the bloggers who put me in front of their audiences – there’s no higher compliment), the traffic didn’t stick… at all. I’m definitely having a hard time with that.

I think I’m in the dreaded valley of despair that most online authors hit after they’ve been rocking for that first 6 months to a year that’s left the internet littered with dead websites (don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere). You look at the successes that seem to happen much quicker (key word is seem) and it’s discouraging.

Beyond that, my day job has just kind of sucked this week.

Sometimes that’s how it goes. Maybe you’re scared, sad, depressed, worried or just feel alone. Don’t worry. We’ve all been there. You may not relate to how bummed I was with my blog traffic numbers, but we’ve all got something we’re struggling with (big or small).

I read a great article the other day over at Unicorn Free that I really identified with. The author Amy Hoy said,

“In 2014, make this your mantra:

There is no such thing as an overnight success.

There is no such thing as an overnight success.

There is no such thing as an overnight success.

There is only stacking the bricks.”

That really struck me. I plan to hold on to that thought and I thought it might help some of you too.

Maybe you’ve been killing the diet and gym but progress has stopped. That promotion you thought was yours and went to the jerkoff in the cube next to you? I’ve been there and it’s not fun.

Keep stacking bricks

Maybe you’ve got a mound of student loans, credit card bills or a job that pays shit. It could be that your savings and investments are just creeping up and you feel like you’ll never get to that retirement number.

Keep stacking bricks.

For me, that means working my ass off at work this week, writing another blog post and continuing to hammer at my other side project (yet to be revealed) in hopes that I’m an “overnight success” at some point. I know that if I ever want this house (or stadium or cathedral – pick your metaphorical building) to be complete, I’ve got another row to cement in place this week.

Ramit Sethi started with a crap website and a $5.0 e-book. Tim Ferris was rejected by almost every publisher in existence for the 4 Hour Work Week, and I couldn’t count the number of stories in which James Altucher is lying on the ground, crying and broke. I could find another dozen examples just like that with business leaders, authors, celebrities, entrepreneurs and any other category that interests you. It didn’t matter. They kept getting up and now they’re the A-listers we all want to be. They did it smart, but they also just kept going. They didn’t quit.

Keep stacking bricks.

If you’re here because you like frugality, personal finance and are looking for inspiration, community or tips, same advice applies. Today go out and lay 1 brick:

  • Open a savings account
  • Bump your 401k percentage up one point
  • Automate that IRA contribution
  • Find 1 bill you can cut (cell phone, cable, etc)
  • Identify 1 habit to break (starbucks / smoking)
  • Find a habit to start (biking to work / bringing your lunch)

If it’s health that’s an issue. Same advice. Go lay 1 brick:

  • Don’t grab that soda
  • Walk 30 minutes per day
  • Toss the junk food in your cabinets
  • Literally go lay some bricks. It’s probably good exercise? Maybe not.

For me I’m going to keep working on some of the ones mentioned by Amy:

  • shipping a single blog post
  • …and another, and another
  • adding 5 subscribers to your newsletter
  • writing one page
  • fixing one bug
  • recording one short video
  • making my very first sale
  • receiving a single happy email from a reader or customer

Everything above has one simple thing in common. It’s not glorious. It’s not sexy. It’s WORK.

Everybody wants the money, fame and fortune. Nobody wants to put in the time. Everybody wants to be the Rock, nobody wants to be up with him at 4am, EVERYDAY for an hour of cardio, then an hour of weights, and eating in beast mode.

If you want to reach your goals, put in the time. Put in the work. If you don’t know what I mean, go watch, “Jiro Dream of Sushi”. That’s a man that puts in the work every single day.


Keep stacking bricks.

So don’t worry that it sucks right now or that you can’t see a light at the end of the tunnel. Determine your goal, make a plan, and figure out what that first step is. Small steps. Small wins. Little improvements. These turn in to BIG WINS (my favorite kind).

Focus less on outcome and more on process. Effort turns in to outcome but they may be pretty far apart.

If you are taking the right steps, eventually you are going to reach your destination.

Stay motivated. Don’t quit. The secret to success is to stop wishing and start doing.

Don’t despise the day of small beginnings.

Keep stacking bricks.

Still here? If so consider using Tradeking for your next brokerage. They’re currently offering a HUGE $200 sign-up bonus. and Personal Capital, my favorite tool to see all your accounts in place. You can also support us by using our Amazon link. We get a bit back if you do and it helps keep the lights on.

If you have a moment, sharing this post on one of your various social media accounts and follow us (facebook, twitter, pinterest) can really help us gain readers, so if you think this post is worth it, please considering sharing. You can use one of the buttons below.

Don’t forget to check out our Resources Page where we’re working to keep links to the best of the web for personal finance, investing, travel and frugal badassity.

Comments 19

  1. Luke Fitzgerald @ FinanciallyFitz

    I like that! Keep stacking bricks is all we can do. Much easier said than done but its nice to have that reminder to keep us focused on the bigger picture. I’ve only been blogging for 2 months, but in that time I’ve noticed something: Every other blog I come across is an overnight success! Obviously this is not reality, but when that perception starts to creep in you can’t help but be discouraged. But then you come across a post like this to remind you to focus on your “why” and keep stacking bricks. Control what you can control. Thanks!

    1. Post
  2. Christina @ Embracing Simple

    Haha I love Barney! Sorry to hear you’ve been feeling kind of down lately. I was feeling that way too last month after hitting the 6 month mark with my blog, but that feeling has really subsided the past few weeks. Stacking those bricks definitely does wonders! Keep it up! 🙂

    1. Post

      Well with the magic of pushing a content calendar out forward, I’m feeling pretty good by the time this came out. We just have to keep up the consistency.
      Thanks for the comment!

  3. Erik

    Great Article Adam,

    I always think this when it comes to motivation. Why are you in this spot? It is because in the past you made conscious decisions to improve yourself and grow. Now that you are stuck, there is no way to go but up. Yes, you can take a break and maybe that’s necessary. But as you stated, the only thing to do is to keep trying. Eventually, you will end up in a great spot.

    Thanks for the post and have a good day,

    1. Post

      Thanks for the comment Erik. We all definitely want to keep moving forward. Nobody likes the grind, everybody wants the reward. For most of us, it takes both.

    1. Post

      I always think of that Kat Williams joke. If you don’t have haters your not doing it right!

      Video below is SUPER NSWF.

  4. Fervent Finance

    Being a doer like yourself will definitely help get out of a rut. You’ll definitely attack with full force whatever the issue is and put it to bed. I also find spending some time in the squat rack cures all for me 🙂

  5. Tawcan

    Love this blogspot. Definitely put the work in. Very good reminder for me especially having to get up at 4 this morning to catch a flight for my business trip.

    1. Post
  6. Rose

    Found your blog via Rockstar Finance. I did sign up to receive your newsletters. There seemed to be a little bug tho. I had to manually insert my e mail address vs, it auto filling. (Auto Fill would not allow me to subscribe for some reason, tho it may be the hot spot I am using). I only mentioned it as it may be the reason your “traffic didn’t stick.” I don’t know a thing about any of the blogging, traffic thing other than folks track it, big time.
    Anyway, I am mid 50s, in my first year of retirement & got here by stacking bricks! One dollar at a time, one bagged lunch at a time and living below our means. All the while trying to live a balanced life. The only way to get there is to know where you want to be & make a plan to succeed. Lots of Luck to you! R

    1. Post

      Thank you very much for the comment. I will look in to that. It’s always hard as one individual to try to keep up with every link and plugin on the site. I just discovered yesterday an affiliate link had been broken for some time.

      Mid-50’s is a great retirement age compared to most. I’m glad you got there and appreciate the hard work. I’m a lunchbox bringer myself.

  7. The Bearded Dragon

    This post reminds of the story of Scott Adams (creator of Dilbert). The punch line is essentially “Cartoonist an overnight success… 5 years in the making.” We are all presented with the tweaked, polished, trimmed, fancied up version of everything. You don’t get to see the blood, sweat, and tears unless you are doing the creating. I enjoyed the post. Keep up the good work.

    1. Post

      Thanks BD. I’m a reader of Scott’s blog and have listened to him on a few shows. He’s a perfect example of putting in the work.

  8. Tonya@Budget and the Beach

    Great post (found you through rockstar finance). I’ve had those days where you think, “finally, a big breakthrough and I’m making it!” Only to be knocked down on my ass once again. But that is just about every single person. It’s not about how many times you fall, but how many times you get up. Everything ebbs and flows, and the good news is that if you are in an ebb, you know what follows!

    1. Post
  9. Pingback: August 2015 Content Curation - Gen Y Finance Guy

  10. Pingback: The Extra Mile is Never Crowded | Adam

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *