Do you have challenges with impatience? Consider:
- How’s your ability to focus?
- Do you feel like you’re on track to your long-term goals?
- Do you get anxious not checking your phone for a while?
These questions all have a common theme, stay with me.
It’s easy to see we’ve become an instant-gratification society. Not long ago, we patiently waited a minute for the modem to dial up the internet. Now we roll our eyes and sigh when a web page takes longer than a half-second to load. And why just stand in line when you could be reading your email, checking the weather, and your social media feed at the same time?
I love technology, and I love it fast, too. Nothing is more valuable than time for me, so often faster is better.
But when is it not?
Everything has a price including impatience. That we can get so much, so fast these days, colors our consciousness. It makes us want more things to be that fast. And while your internet and your Amazon delivery can get faster, what if some things can’t?
More importantly, what if the mere desire for such things to quicken actually slows it down?
There’s an old Zen story that goes like this:
A young man goes to a Zen master and says, “If I work very hard, how soon can I be enlightened?”
The Zen master looks him up and down and says, “Ten years.”
The man replies, “Okay, but what if I really work at it, meditate six hours a day. How long—”
The Zen master cuts him off. “I’m sorry. I misjudged. Twenty years.”
”Wait!” Says the man, “You don’t understand. What if I sit for twelve hours a day and—”
“Thirty years,” said the Zen master flatly.
What hurry are you in that’s slowing you down? Is it becoming a better manager? Growing your business? Instilling a greater sense of responsibility in your culture?
The problem with quick-fixes is not only that they don’t work, but they put you in a mindset that could have you barking up the wrong tree for the rest of your life.
This is what I mean when I say the secret is there is no secret. There’s probably something you pursue in your life right now with an unrealistic expectation of how quickly the result should happen. That’s impatience.
When you experience that slowness, you get discouraged.
When discouraged, you work at it less.
And so your reaching pushes it further away.
Hurry up and slow down.
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