The problem with gradual change is that it's so subtle.
You could achieve many goals with small amounts of regular effort over the long term, but the daily result is so trivial that it's hard to believe you will ever get anywhere. So the projects don't seem promising enough to pursue.
Success, however, does seem to come to those who have the insight to see that it's in the mastery of the gradual that true power lies. Here's Seth Godin in the pulpit:
You don't win an Olympic gold medal with a few weeks of intensive training. There's no such thing as an overnight opera sensation... Every great company, every great brand, and every great career has been built in exactly the same way: bit by bit, step by step, little by little.
You're not going to build a great company because of a neat idea that you got in the shower one day. You're not going to find that perfect job just because your résumé ends up on the right desk on the right day... Stop shopping for lightning bolts. The way out of paralysis is thinking small and thinking gradual... You have to invest in things that represent big change over time..
We shouldn't be surprised that the Atkins diet is so popular. It's not gradual, and it doesn't build a lifetime foundation of good health. In otherwords, it's the American way.
Funny, that he should close with a shot at Atkins. Dedication is inspired by the occasional miracle and the weight loss Atkins delivers during the first two weeks is so painless, quick and surprising that it can serve as a springboard for something long-lasting.
And funny, too, because another pundit, Joel Mowbray, promotes Atkins as a remedy to the culture of instant gratification.