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How Long Does Success Actually Take? (What to Expect on Your Journey)


masculine development

It’s 3 in the morning. Central California, 1995.

Most of the city is asleep, but one man has been glued to his computer screen for the past 12 hours.

“Aren’t you going to get some sleep?” his brother asked. “No,” the man said. “This has to be done right now.”

An hour went by, two hours went by, three hours…finally at 6 in the morning, when the sunlight cracked through the curtains, this man went to sleep.

Then, he woke up 3 hours later, and started again.

This man’s name was Elon Musk, and he’s now worth over $13 billion dollars.


What it Takes

masculine development

The mainstream media never focuses on the work it takes to become successful. It always shows overnight successes:

  • This man seemingly came out of nowhere, and now he’s a famous actor!
  • This man seemingly came out of nowhere, and now he’s worth millions!
  • This man seemingly came out of nowhere, and now he’s changing the world!

Bullshit. The real story is behind the scenes. It’s the decade of preparation that they had to put in, before they became successful.

We live in an instant gratification society—we know what we want, and we want it now. Yet few people are willing to put in the work to achieve their dreams. They just expect for things to magically fall into place, but they never do.

Elon Musk came onto the world’s stage after his company, PayPal, was sold to eBay for $1.5 billion in 2002—Musk, being the largest shareholder of the company, got to pocket $165 million.

In other words, it took him 5 years of solid work, oftentimes putting in 16 hour days, before he achieved that level of success.

Becoming successful, whether it be with your dating life, your financial life, or your physical health, takes time. Let’s break it down even further and see where most people fail, and how the winners end up succeeding.


The Beginnings: Months 0-12

masculine development

Most people don’t have the guts to get past this part. Most people try something for a couple of weeks, maybe a month, and they don’t feel like they’re getting results fast enough so they quit.

These people are lazy, and they will never accomplish anything worthwhile.

The first 12 months of ANYTHING will be difficult, but that’s what makes it great…if it was easy, anybody would do it. The fact that it’s hard is what makes it great; this is what makes it an achievement.

Let’s look at how this first phase of growth plays out in a few areas of your life.


First 0-12 Months in Game

When guys hear that I’m a “professional pickup artist,” they typically laugh or sneer, as if they’re better. But do you know what?

Those same people wouldn’t last 30 minutes doing what I do. Those same people who laugh at pickup artistry would cry and walk home defeated after 2 rejections.

Those same people who laugh at pickup artistry would be scared shitless if asked to approach a tall Russian model, and they’d make all kinds of excuses:

  • “UHH, no I need to pee.”
  • “UHH, no she probably has a boyfriend.”
  • “UHH no, I need another drink.”

Bullshit, bullshit, and bullshit. You’re just fucking afraid. Fear is the great cock block, as I’ve said before, and this is why the first month or two of learning game is called “Beginner’s Hell.” Because it fucking sucks.

But, if you can make it past the first 1-2 months, you’ll start getting some success. Maybe it won’t be at first, and maybe it won’t be a lot, but it’ll be good enough to keep you going.

You’ll start getting some instant make outs, some dates, and some one night stands. The success will start to drive you to work harder, and by the 1 year mark, you’ll feel like a different person…because you are.

After 8-12 months you’ve got a pretty decent social circle, you’re dating a few girls at once, and you’re a lot more confident in your social skills. We’re just getting started, though.


First 0-12 Months in Business

Most guys don’t ever even start a business, but the ones that do usually give up in under a month. Why?

Because the first 6 months of business fucking sucks. You will end up working 8-12 hour days and won’t get paid shit.

But, if you can grind it out and keep working, you’ll start to get a little trickle of money that will make things much easier. Month by month, it will slowly grow, as long as you keep putting in the work and visualizing the future.

As an example, when I first started Masculine Development, I worked around 10 hours a day for 6 months straight. I made absolutely nothing.

Then, on my 6 month I made something like $24—I was ecstatic! Even though it wasn’t much, I saw that if I kept grinding and putting in the work, I’d make more. So, the next month I made something like $26. Then $50, then $100, then $200…

Then, I launched my first eBook after around 9 months of growth, and my monthly income shot up to around $800/month. Then I took on students and started charging an hourly rate for coaching, and my income went to the $1,000-$2,000 per month range.

You’ll find that during the first 12 months of anything, there’s an exponential learning curve. The first 6 months will probably suck shit, but if you can persevere and take action, you’ll find it’s worth it.


First 0-12 Months in Spiritual Growth

Spiritual growth is perhaps the most difficult, yet most rewarding form of growth that you will go through in your life. Most men can’t even stomach a 30 minutes of this stuff.

Why? Because it destroys your ego—the essence of spiritual growth comes down to developing yourself as a human being, realizing the ramifications of your actions, and eliminating childlike narcissistic worldviews.

Spiritual growth takes the longest out of everything, perhaps, because as your lifestyle changes, you will be met with a constant stream of new spiritual challenges.

Spiritual growth doesn’t usually start out of nowhere; it’s typically sparked by an intensely life-changing event, such as the sudden loss of a loved one, or a crumbling of your belief structure (also known as ego death).

The first 12 months are typically extremely painful, as you begin to ask yourself questions that tear the rug out from underneath you:

  • “What is my place in the world? Am I leaving behind a better earth?”
  • “What’s the point of life, if ultimately, we all die in the end?”
  • “Who am I? How do I know what I know is true?”

As you begin to meditate more and more, you’ll begin to realize how much you’ve repressed your true feelings and thoughts. Meditation tends to do that—when you sit still for 20 minutes every day, and just observe your thoughts, you start to notice a lot of patterns.

As you go through this process, you’ll begin to sift through emotions past. Things your father did, things your mother did, things that you did, how you truly feel about yourself, and about others—all of these must be dealt with, and it will hurt…a lot.

But, something will keep you going. With each new revelation and discovery about yourself, you’ll be thankful, and you’ll march onward.


Growing Pains: 1-5 Years

masculine development

This is what truly separates the champions from the losers. This is when you’ll start to experience the Road of Trials, which is an integral part of the Hero’s Journey.

This is where you will be tested. This is where you’ll see what you’re worth, as you’re confronted with multiple complex problems that you weren’t prepared for.

The good thing is that by now, you’re starting to have a lot of progress—whether it’s making money from your business, looking jacked from your workout routine, or feeling more calm and collected from meditation, you’ll experience significant results.

If you can make it past this phase, you’ll experience more results than you ever thought possible. But, they come at a price—you have to fight for them. You have to earn them.

This phase is sometimes known as the “Intermediate Purgatory,” where you’re just good enough to have tasted true success, but you’re struggling and grinding to make it a constant reality.

Let’s take a look at a few areas of your life, and see what they look like in this phase:


Years 1-5 in Game

As you start to get more and more success with women, you’ll find that your tastes become more refined—you become able to sort through the riff-raff and get to the girls that you actually like.

Previously, when you’d only dated a few girls before, you had no idea what you wanted. You’d take anything that had a vagina, because it was better than nothing.

Now, however, you’re starting to become attractive enough to actually have your pick in girls. Once you get to this point, game will actually become highly enjoyable.

After a year or two, you’ll start to develop very heightened social skills. You’ll be able to tell exactly what people are thinking and feeling, and you’ll be able to understand someone’s past just by looking at them.

Sound weird? Let me explain—when you go out clubbing and meet hundreds of new people every week, you begin to notice patterns:

  • “Oh, only manipulative people make that facial expression.”
  • “That’s the ‘I’m cheating on my boyfriend’ look.”
  • “He’s got the ‘entrepreneur eyes,’ and probably has a business.”
  • “This guy’s genuinely telling me the truth. I can hear it in his voice.”

In other words, you start to recognize certain facial expressions and non-verbal cues that only certain groups of people make.

This is incredibly rewarding, because not only does it improve your dating life, but it drastically improves your male relationships and charisma, as well.

You’ll also encounter a lot of betrayal, lying, and heartbreak in this phase. But, it will be equally met with trust, honesty, and love from others. Through the “Road of Trials,” that is years 1-5, you’ll learn to tell true friends from fake friends.


Years 1-5 in Business

This is where you’re going to experience periods of maintenance and stagnation, followed by periods of massive growth.

This is typically because you’ll spend time changing your business model and updating systems, which have a profound effect on your sales and engagement.

Take, Masculine Development, for example. It’s been around for a little over a year, so technically it’s in this phase—and if you’re a regular reader of my blog, you’ll know that I haven’t been posting as much as I usually do.

Why? Because I’ve been agonizingly upgrading my systems, focusing on SEO, and doing other business related things that you have to do as your blog grows. This is part of the process.

But, do you know what the good part is? Once I finish all of this, I’ll be posting a few articles every week (like normal), and will probably make upwards of $10,000 a month from my blog alone once I launch Body of an Alpha. This is after nearly 14 months of grueling work.

And then after that, I’m going to have to go through another process of breaking down and building back up—the 1-5 year mark in anything is characterized by this constant changing and evolving.

Maybe it’ll be having to upgrade to a different server, or maybe it’ll be having to upgrade to a different email-autoresponder, or learning to re-code certain parts of my blog, or WHATEVER. The point is that years 1-5 in business are typically filled with an enormous amount of struggle.

But, if you can make it through this, riches await you on the other side.


Years 1-5 in Spiritual Growth

As I said before, spiritual growth takes longer than any other type of growth. In fact, most people don’t even ever begin this type of work, because in all seriousness, it’s fucking hard to do.

Who wants to ask themselves whether or not they’re on the right path in life? What if admitting that you were wrong, meant that your entire life was a waste? These are hard things to accept.

But, if you stick with it, years 1-5 will begin to reward you. Here are some of the things to expect after working on your spirituality for 1-5 years:

  • An increased sense of peace and serenity, even in times of stress
  • A deep fiery passion for your path in life
  • Better relationships, whether they be platonic or romantic
  • A taste of true “eudaimonia,” as Aristotle called it, which is closely translated to “living a fulfilled life”

The main struggles you’ll go through in the 1-5 year period have to do with re-organizing your life to fit your purpose. As an example, maybe you’ll start to wake up and realize that your “friends” have actually been using you…or maybe you’ve been using them.

Maybe you’ll wake up and see that the people around you aren’t on the right path in life…so then what do you do? You’ll likely undergo the process of filtering these people out.

As you grow and develop as a human being, people will come and go, in and out of your life—this will be very difficult at times, but it’s for the best.

You may also have to quit your job and follow your dreams, because the weight of living a meaningless life is too much to handle…either way, this phase in spiritual growth is filled with re-evaluation of your life, and slowly integrating your beliefs into how you live.


The Reward: 5+ Years

masculine development

If you can make it this far, and put in a solid 5 years of work, then pretty much everything after this will be gravy.

That isn’t to say that you won’t make mistakes and have to go through more painful “growth spurts,” and whatnot, but for the most part, things will be a lot easier than when you were first starting out.

This phase is characterized by the rewards that you’ve reaped.

Whether it’s being in amazing shape from working out, being wealthy from starting a business, having your pick in women from learning game, or being perpetually calm and serene from spiritual development, you’ll reap the rewards.

Interestingly enough, it’s also characterized by a paradoxical “trimming of the leaves,” or “shedding of the excess,” which leads to growth.

Let’s go deeper:


Years 5+ in Game

By now you’ll have a very good idea of what you want in a woman. You’ll have your “type,” all figured out—and you’ll be able to screen through women very easily to see which ones you like and which ones you don’t.

Your notch count is probably at 200 or so, as well—you’re a master of text game, day game, and night game. You’ve dated models. You’ve dated porn stars. You’ve dated playboy bunnies. You’ve dated “nice girls.” You’ve seen it all.

By now, you’ve also probably had multiple long term relationships, some may have ended well, and some not so well…but you learned something from every one of them.

At this point, you’re able to meet women like it’s nothing. Your social circle is flourishing, and you have a close pack of tight-knit friends who’ve got your back.

So whether you want to continue networking with cool guys and meeting cool girls, or just develop deeper relationships with a select few of your friends, the choice is all yours.

Beyond this point, it’s not so much a matter of learning to “do things,” but a matter of learning what not to do. It’s not a period of growth, but rather a period of shedding (paradoxically). Sound confusing? Let me explain.

Maybe before, you were dating 15 different girls at once. No joke, I knew a guy who was dating 35 girls at once (he had an excel spreadsheet to keep track of them). This is very typical of the years 1-5 stage, where you’re overly-excited about your newfound excess.

Come the 5+ year stage, however, you realize that it’s more rewarding to date a solid 4-5 girls, and have a primary, rather than manage a bunch of girls that may be hot, but that aren’t fun to be around.

This is what I mean by shedding—paradoxically by letting go of the “fringe” girls and guys in your social circles, you can focus more on the ones that matter. In this way, you grow.


Years 5+ in Business

Once you get your business to the point that you’re making 7 or 8 figures, you stop to care so much about the money, and care more about the lifestyle that comes with it. Let me tell you a story to illustrate this example.

Imagine that you’ve worked your ass off for the last 5 years. You’ve been waking up every single god damn day at 7am and working until 9pm, and it’s finally paid off. You’re making $10 million bucks a year. That’s awesome, isn’t it?

Well, sort of. You’ll start to reach a point where you already have more than enough money, and so you start to care about other things, like health, emotional growth, and relationships. So which do you think sounds more appealing:

  • Trimming down your clients and products by 30%, only making $5 million a year, but only working 20 hours a week
  • Keep growing, making $15 million a year, and working 90 hours a week.

Obviously the first one is going to be more appealing for the majority of people. When you attain the highest peaks of wealth, time and convenience become more important to you than making another million.

Now obviously there’s exceptions to this (like Elon Musk). If your company is changing the world, like SpaceX and Tesla are, and you live and breathe every fucking second of your business, then you actually enjoy working the 80 hours a week.

But for most people, come the 5+ year stage in business, it becomes more about what they can automate and outsource, rather than what else they can take on.

At first, during the 0-12 months stage, they had no money, so didn’t mind sacrificing time. Now, however, they have a ton of money, and so time becomes more valuable, because it’s the scarcer resource.

At this point a lot of business owners may sell their businesses for a cool $50 million, invest most of it, and just start a lifestyle business that they’re passionate about. You see this a lot on the West Coast.

Tons of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs bust their ass to make the next Uber, and end up hating it, so they just sell it and use the money to open up a Kayak shop or Marijuana dispensary or something that they enjoy.

This is true wealth—having enough money in the bank to provide your ideal lifestyle, but also having time and happiness.


Years 5+ in Spiritual Growth

By now, you’ve started to fully awaken (if it hasn’t happened yet). Some people awaken all at once, from taking a ton of psychedelics, having a near-death experience, or experiencing ego dissolution. For most people, however, it will be a slow and gradual process.

At this point in your development, you’ve cut out 90% of the bullshit influences in your life. Friends and family that aren’t on the right path, you’ve cut them out—not out of spite, but because you can’t change anyone who doesn’t want to change.

Work environments, foods…anything that doesn’t “align with your purpose,” has been cut out at this point. Your entire life is leveraged to help you achieve your purpose and make the world a better place.

By this point, you’ve also transcended your old-self numerous times. You’ve left behind dysfunctional defense mechanisms and ego games that you used to play, and now you look at them as being foolish (rightfully so).

You’ve experienced numerous self-revelations, such as:

  • Realizing that you’ve been lying to yourself for years
  • Realizing that you’ve been repressing your true emotions for years
  • Realizing that you haven’t been true to yourself for years
  • …and more

After 1 year of spiritual growth, you’re an entirely different person. After 5 years, though? You’re like 5 levels higher than where you started—and the ultimate level? It’s realizing that there are no levels. We’re all just on our own paths, and none are objectively good or bad, but they’re exactly what we need to experience to move upwards in high vibration energy.



masculine development

I could have easily gone into depth far more, and I likely will in future articles—but try to understand the general principles at play here. This is about putting in hard work and never giving up. There’s a reason why only about 2% of people have successful businesses: you have to put in a lot of work and deal with a lot of rejection.

First, you work your ass off. Then, you go back and fix things and improve them. Then, you trim the hedges and improve the core aspects. This is the pattern that most people will follow on their path to success.

Some people may follow a different path, and some people may even choose to continue honing their skills and growing beyond 5 years, 10 years, or 60 years! But in general, we all follow the same steps:

  1. Work hard as hell
  2. Go back and apply newfound knowledge to what you previously built
  3. Focus in on the core aspects, utilizing Pareto’s Law

Ask yourself: where are you on your journey to success? Have you even started? These questions may be hard to ask, but they’ll change your life if you do.

I hope you guys enjoyed the article, and as always, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, feel free to let me know down below. I’ll see you next time!

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Joel W
6 years ago

It takes as long as it takes. No more, no less. ‘Simple’ as that. Case in point. A good friend of mine been trying to make it as a rapper since high school (he 36 now). People been telling him for years now, ‘just give it up, you’re getting to old, blah, blah, blah.’ Well he kept puttin in the work non-stop, got a bit more mature and got his ego in check (he ALWAYS had to be the star), was the opening act and hype-man for another friend who was well established, did a European tour & two US tours at that status, and now he got his OWN shit. Now he can say, with absolute authority, ”FUCK YOU HATERS & DOUBTERS. I DID THIS SHIT.’ His first full length LP record release party is tonight, headliner, with tour to follow I’m sure.

It takes as long as it takes.

Jon Anthony
6 years ago
Reply to  Joel W

This. Generally there’s a certain pattern that it follows, which is the one that I laid out, but don’t get too stuck in that.

The “roadmap,” is just that – a map. It’s not the actual journey. It’s not the actual territory. Sometimes you’ll find that my advice is great and predicts 100% of what happens to you, other times maybe not.

The map is not the territory, and sometimes, success takes a hell of a long time…but it’s worth it.

Best of luck to your friend. Being able to say “Fuck you haters!” must be the most energizing and gratifying thing ever.

6 years ago

Hey man! Great fucking article. You just said the truth that people don’t like hearing. Working hard and smart. Just of curiosity, where are you in these three areas of life?


What's Up, I'm Jon Anthony

Women. Fitness. Money. I’ll help you achieve it.

After dropping out of college to pursue my dreams, I started this blog as a way to help other men do the same.

What started off as a fun hobby, grew into a full-scale 6-figure business that’s changing the lives of men worldwide.


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