Earning the right to do the next thing is more important than doing the right thing once

Josh Elman
3 min readOct 28, 2023

I started with a tweet about some key understanding I wish I had earlier in life

I wanted to expand on the first point and asked ChatGPT to do so. It did a great job with some key insights. But it did miss the importance of making sure you build relationships with the people you work with so that you understand them, they understand you, and you want to keep working together. Every bit of work has bumps and disagreements — but you want to earn the right as a great partner to work through those together to get to great outcomes and not a bulldozer who insists on getting their way without listening, processing, sharing reasoning, and getting to a shared outcome. Anyway on to what ChatGPT advises:

In a world where quick fixes and instant gratification often dominate our decision-making, there’s a valuable lesson to be learned: “Earning the right to do the next thing is more important than doing the right thing once.” This concept reminds us that sustainable success is built on a foundation of consistency, perseverance, and a long-term perspective.

The Illusion of Instant Success

In our fast-paced society, the allure of instant success can be overwhelming. We’re bombarded with stories of overnight sensations and shortcuts to achievement, which can give the impression that you can skip the hard work and go straight to the top. However, such stories are often the exception rather than the rule.

The Power of Building a Foundation

To truly succeed in any endeavor, it’s essential to focus on building a solid foundation. This involves dedicating time, effort, and energy to mastering the fundamentals, honing your skills, and learning from your mistakes. It’s about putting in the work and gaining the experience that makes you proficient in your chosen field.

The Role of Consistency

Consistency is a critical component of earning the right to do the next thing. Consistently doing the right thing, even when no one is watching, is what separates those who achieve long-term success from those who burn out quickly. Whether it’s in your career, relationships, or personal growth, staying committed to your goals is key.

Learning from Mistakes

Mistakes are an inevitable part of the journey towards success. Earning the right to do the next thing also involves the willingness to learn from your failures. Instead of dwelling on your mistakes, view them as valuable lessons that help you grow and improve. It’s often said that the path to success is paved with failures — it’s how you respond to them that counts.

Delayed Gratification

Earning the right to do the next thing requires a willingness to delay gratification. While it may be tempting to take shortcuts or opt for immediate rewards, this approach can lead to short-lived success or even failure in the long run. By staying patient and understanding that real success takes time, you position yourself for sustainable growth.

Short-Term vs. Long-Term Gains

In many situations, individuals who focus on short-term gains may achieve initial success, but they often struggle to maintain it. On the other hand, those who prioritize long-term goals are more likely to achieve lasting success. It’s not about a single moment of brilliance; it’s about consistently performing at a high level over time.

Embracing the Journey

Earning the right to do the next thing is not just about reaching the destination; it’s about embracing the journey. Every step, every challenge, and every effort contributes to your growth and your ability to take on new opportunities. When you focus on the process, the destination becomes all the more satisfying.


In a world where the quest for quick wins and instant success can be tempting, the concept of earning the right to do the next thing reminds us that lasting achievements are the result of consistent effort, learning from mistakes, and a focus on long-term goals. Success is not just about doing the right thing once; it’s about building a foundation that allows you to do the right thing time and time again. So, embrace the journey, stay committed, and remember that true success is earned, not given.



Josh Elman

I love building products that people use. I‘ve helped build Twitter, Facebook Connect, LinkedIn, Robinhood. Investor in Medium, Tiktok/Musical.ly, Discord