Let me be the first to say that I’m impatient, especially where my goals are concerned. Like anyone else I like things to happen in my time and happen now, that’s how I’ve been over the years. I believe I have a right to demand a lot of myself and demand when it should happen.
Here’s the thing, that’s not how life works. Life doesn’t care if I want it now. Everything happens in its own time regardless of my impatience. This is a reality I had to come to grips with a long time ago, and it’s one I glad I did because it has served me well. I’ve come to realize that the most rewarding things in life typically take the longest time to happen.
How Being Impatient Keeps You From What You Want
What do you want? Is it losing weight and developing better eating habits? Is it earning a certain amount of money? Is it finding that man or woman of your dreams you want to get married to? Whatever it is I want you to think about it.
Now without probably knowing you or anything about you, I know if you haven’t achieved any of those goals it’s very likely because you were impatient. For some reason you wanted things to happen faster than they were, and when they didn’t you gave up and thought it wasn’t meant to happen, and settled.
Here’s the process each of us goes through when we want something, but are too impatient to wait for the best opportunities to get it:
- You see something you want and begin to work on getting it
- In your mind it’s taking too long and you become overwhelmed with the process
- You make hasty decisions in the short term for instant gratification
- It doesn’t work out how you wanted it to, you quit, and think you’re a failure
Taking each of these scenarios into consideration let’s see how this plays out.
Losing Weight and Developing Better Eating Habits
You see how your present eating habits is causing you to live a very unhealthy life. It triggers in you feelings of low self-esteem, and you decide you want to change things.
You begin exercising, going to the gym, and even eating more salads with your meal. However, after the first week or two you aren’t seeing any indication that it is working so you begin to feel all this effort is a waste of time.
Since it’s taking so long you decide to stop exercising, go back to your bad eating habits, because what’s the point.
You decide to quit on the entire process altogether, and you think how much of a failure you are because you didn’t last longer than a week.
Earning More Money
You decide you want a job that pays more so you can earn more. You don’t have the money to go back to school to become more qualified, so you decide to work longer hours to make more money.
Two job opportunities come along. One will pay you more than your current job right now, but it won’t further your career leading to bigger opportunities. The other pays less in the short term than your current job, but in the long-term you see how it will create greater opportunities, and give you access to people you never did before who can further your career. Thus making you more money in the long-term.
You decide to take the job that pays more. Makes sense, why not take the job that’s paying you more right now, after all you could use the money.
You’re working for years at the same position, and just the thought of trying to build a career that not only pays more, but will give greater fulfillment is overwhelming.
You decide to quit on the dream of a great career goal you had planned out, and settle for being paid just a little bit more, with the hope of getting an increase in pay every 3 years.
Finding and Marrying the Love of Your Life
You decide you want to settle down, get in a committed relationship, with the hopes of eventually getting married.
The first person that comes along is nice, you enjoy their company and think they’re a good fit for you. However, rather than taking the time to get to know the person as a friend first just to be sure, you immediately decide to become intimate, because why not.
After a few months you realize that the person you thought was a perfect fit ended up being a disaster. The problem is you’ve already invested so much of your time with them, and just the thought of going out there to try again scares you.
You quit searching for better, and decide to just settle for the evil that you know.
In each of these 3 scenarios there is a common theme. That theme is making decision in the short-term to satisfy an immediate need or gratification that we have, rather than having the patience to wait for better.
What Causes Us to be Impatient?
This is something I’ve often thought about myself. Mostly because I know the importance of patience in achieving any goal you have. I wanted to be able to know what causes us to be impatient, so I could counter it.
From myself, working with others, and observing general human behaviour here are a few things I’ve discovered.
We’re impatient because:
- The thought of a better future than our present. This creates the desire for this better future to manifest in the present. Nothing is wrong with this, as it is what we use to give us hope during dark times. However, it becomes a challenge and causes us to be impatient because we desperately want that better future now, rather than enduring the pain and discomfort we feel in the present
- Comparing other people’s progress to our own. Everyone does this, whether they admit it or not, I know I have. It’s that feeling that comes when you begin to think that somehow everyone around you seems to be progressing in their lives, and you’re not. The reason this causes us to become impatient is we begin to see ourselves as failures, compared to other people’s progress. We somehow believe that we should be further ahead, without realizing that everyone has their own race to run, and own path to take
- We lack the proper perspective on life. As stated things don’t happen in our time, it happens in the right time. Because we lack this perspective we tend to think that everything should happen quickly (or at least quicker than it is). This is primarily due to how success and happiness is portrayed in media. We often hear the stories of ‘overnight’ successes, or see the before and after photos, or the elderly couple that has been married for decades and still happy. Yet, we almost never hear or see the struggles and the trials that came with it. The realization that what may have seem like a few months or years to accomplish, could very well have taken a decade
3 Ways to Develop patience to Achieve Your Goals
Give yourself an extended period to achieve your goal
Forget about trying to achieve the goal in the shortest time possible, that will only lead to overwhelm and disappointment. Instead look at how long you believe it will take you to achieve the goal, then times that number by two. Not to set this deadline in stone, just to use as a navigational guide.
The reason why this is key is because there’s a difference in mindset between trying to achieve a goal in 12 weeks versus 12 months. When the time is extended you’re less likely to get caught up in your failures, because you know there’s still time to get it right. Also, you take the time to appreciate the process and the person you’re becoming, rather than getting caught up with the fact that you haven’t accomplish the goal yet.
This was exactly the case with someone I started working with recently. Her goal was to lose a certain amount of weight by the end of this year. However, the process was overwhelming, as all she could focus on was that she wasn’t seeing results fast enough and in her mind time was running out. Hence, why I did the video on why not to set deadlines. After speaking with her we decided to extend the time to 12 months instead. Not 12 months to achieve the goal, but just working at it for 12 months consistently. This gave her a new mindset that allowed her to develop great patience in the process. She reconciled that no matter how often she messed up, there’s still time to achieve the goal, which took the pressure of trying to accomplish it quickly.
Put Things Into Perspective
Another way I could have said this is “don’t compare yourself to others”, problem is even if I tell you not to, you’re still going to do it anyway. So I want you to take this approach instead.
Taking the ‘putting things into perspective’ approach has worked well for me. I begin to realize life isn’t as static and one-dimensional as we may think.
When I say put things into perspective, it means look at things differently. Instead of looking at the fact that you aren’t at the same level as others around you, ask yourself these questions:
- Do we even have the same vision and goals for our lives?
- Are they taking the same path to success as I am?
- Is their definition of success the same as mine?
- Am I comparing their 5 year process when I’m only at month 5 in my process?
By asking these questions it allows you to very quickly and easily see that just because someone has accomplished more in your eyes than you have, doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your goals as well. It allows you to understand that there are many factors that you have to consider, such as how long have they been in their process, their vision versus yours, and what they define as success. Their definition could be to become a senior executive with a corner office in a company. Yours could be building a product that will have a significant positive impact on the lives of millions. Two different goals that involves two different processes to accomplish.
Look at the bigger picture, not just what you see immediately before your eyes.
Focus on the Routine Not the Result
If you’ve followed my blog long enough you know this is pretty much the theme that I preach very often. There’s no greater evidence of why this is important than with patience.
In case you haven’t heard me talk about this when I say focus on the routine and not the result, what I mean is have the goal and set the goal you want to achieve. However, once you’ve done that don’t think about or focus on the goal at all. Instead focus on the daily activity (the routine) that you need to execute that will inevitably make you achieve the goal.
The reason why this is important goes back to the earlier point of the desire for a better future. It causes us to become impatient and overwhelmed because the future that we want to create is taking too long, and we’re burdened by our current reality. However, focusing on the daily activity needed causes us to only think about what we need to do today to get to the end result, rather than being obsessed about a future that hasn’t happened yet.
This makes it possible for your brain to be less preoccupied with accomplishing the goal quickly, and focus on taking the necessary actions that will inevitably lead to accomplishing the goals.
In the end the main reason why as human beings we become impatient is because we want a desirable future that hasn’t happened yet, but we want to happen now. Without understanding on an emotional level (not intellectual level) that anything good in life takes time.
This is why it’s so easy for people to get caught up in the hype of quick fixes and immediate gratification presented by those who use this to manipulate others to get what they want. Often it’s not that these people are gullible, it’s because they lack the proper perspective that creates patience.
Impatience causes us to make hasty and irrational decision to satisfy a short term need, and then when those decision don’t work out how we want them to (because they never do), we settle for what we have now, instead of fighting for what we want and know we deserve.
Remember the longer it takes, the more rewarding it is, that’s why patience is key to living a life of happiness and fulfillment.
To your success my friend!
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