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Hofstadter´s Law and the Three "P´s" for Success in 2024

There are a few common mistakes people make as they begin their journey towards fulfilling their resolutions or goals for the new year.

Not having a plan to guide them or not having the right support system (accountability) to rely on when motivation wanes are two such mistakes. The other is in relation to time and expectations.

It can be disheartening when we feel like we are giving it all we´ve got and are doing all the right things, but still see little to no results. Part of our frustration can be related to our expectations. We want to see results right away and that is quite often unrealistic.

We can´t take all the blame when there are entire industries dedicated solely for the purpose of promising results in unrealistic time frames. We see it all the time. We are bombarded with ads promising phenomenal results in ridiculous short amount of time.

We are also a culture committed to instant gratification. We want it all and we want it now.

So here is the hard truth. You can have it all, but not all at once. It takes time.

Now let me through something else into the mix. Not only does it take time, but it will probably take longer than you realize. The propensity for humans to miscalculate time is known as Hofstadter´s Law.

Hofstadter's Law was coined by cognitive scientist and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Douglas Hofstadter. It basically states that our initial estimates of time required for a task are inherently flawed, underestimating the complexities involved. Therefore, whatever we do will mostly likely take longer than what we expected.

Understanding and embracing this concept can lead to valuable insights on the interplay between patience, practice, and perseverance in the pursuit of our goals.

Let´s take a look at these three “P´s.”


Patience is the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.

As we encounter setbacks and unforeseen challenges, patience allows us to navigate the twists and turns with a calm and composed mindset. Rather than succumbing to frustration, we learn to appreciate the gradual progress and the wisdom gained through each experience.

Cross-culturally, spiritual and wisdom literature have a lot to say about patience and the benefits associated with it. In the Book of James from the New Testament, the write conveys the idea that wholeness, or having a sense being complete, is correlate to the work of patience in an individuals life.

“Let patience have her perfect work, that you may be complete lacking nothing …” James 1:4


Practice is the vehicle through which we refine our skills, adapt to unforeseen obstacles, and gradually bridge the gap between our initial expectations and the reality of the task at hand.

We know that expertise is not achieved overnight. The long journey towards mastery requires repetition and there will be times when we just don´t get it right. During these times, we need to give ourselves the grace to be the beginner and understand that each repetition, failure, and adjustment propels us forward, transforming what seems unachievable into the achievable. The integration of practice into our routine becomes a testament to the power of sustained effort in the face of Hofstadter's Law.


Perseverance is the unwavering commitment to our goals, even when faced with the relentless challenges and obstacles. Perseverance refuses to be deterred by setbacks, acknowledging that success is often a culmination of discipline, resilience and determination.

Perseverance is the force that keeps us moving forward when the allure of shortcuts or premature conclusions tempts us. It reinforces the understanding that the path to mastery is not linear, and true success is born from the ability to endure and overcome the unexpected.

Hofstadter's Law reminds us that time estimation is an intricate dance between optimism and reality. It helps us to redefine our relationship with time, viewing it not as a constraint but as a companion in the pursuit of excellence.

Here´s to discovering a happier healthier you in 2024!

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