Why you need to celebrate when you’re not…
Are we too impatient? I probably have been in the past, and have moments still — particularly with the kids. Sometimes being impatient can help provide the energy we need. But there are so many aspects of our life where being impatient doesn’t help us, in fact, it hinders.
I am talking about when we are unkind with ourself. When we set ourselves a goal and then are critical when we immediately fall short. The adage that resonates the most for me about patience goes as follows;
You wouldn’t plant a seed, then dig it up every few minutes, and be disappointed that it hasn’t grown.
So why do you keep questioning yourself, your hard work and your decisions?
Have patience, stop overthinking and keep watering your seeds.
“noun: The tendency to be impatient”.
People think that patience is a lack of impatience, but in truth, it is the other way around. Impatience is a mental state triggered by the distance between where you are and where you want to be. This means that patience is actually the lack of impatience.
For instance, what is the first thing you do when you find yourself in a queue for something? Maybe in a line to see the bank teller. Perhaps you are just a little early to meet someone. What do you do?
You probably get your phone out of your pocket and start clicking through apps.
We can’t handle those few moments of boredom. We need a distraction. That short moment, when you find yourself between where you are and where you want to be. We become impatient with the inconvenience and choose not to demonstrate patience. When that impatience hits, we choose distraction.
This small example, of choosing to not be patient, is the thing that is causing us to be so hard on ourselves. It is the age of convenience, and we struggle to resolve what to do when things do not happen straight away.
It is in these small moments, we can become better for the big moments. The ones that really matter. We need to build a muscle that can fight back against impatience, and strengthen it over time.
Patience is the art of concealing your impatience — Guy Kawasaki
If we admit that we can all be impatient, how do we get better at being patient with ourselves and our goals?
A man watches his pear tree day after day, impatient for the ripening of the fruit. Let him attempt to force the process, and he may spoil both fruit and tree. But let him patiently wait, and the ripe pear at length falls into his lap — Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln is on to something here. It is the desire to force immediate change that corrupts our best attempts. If you can understand the length of time it takes to really change something, you can learn to suppress the impatience.
Personal development is a slow game. How many people give up on a New Years resolution before the end of January do you think? A study conducted found that 80% of people have given up by the second week of February, with most of them quitting on the 19th of January (affectionately called ‘Quitters Day’).
This is primarily due to impatience at the lack of immediate results or positive re-enforcement of our goals. We struggle to see that it is worth it because nothing has changed.
It is not the pursuit of happiness, but the happiness in the pursuit that is the key to success.
The key to personal development is to not focus on the end goal, but realise the small steps along the way are the important ones. You need to embrace the suck of not being where you want to be and enjoy the things you are doing now.
You need to set the big goal for your personal development, but then work out what the small goals are along the way. Then, you do each of these small steps. The thing everyone forgets though is to celebrate when you do them. My mother taught me the importance of this. There was always cake.
Impatience and celebration
If we are meant to be watering our seeds, what better way to water them than with celebrations. People try and down-play their hard work, they realise that they have a long way to go. They convince themselves they’ll celebrate when they get there.
Here are a few ways you can celebrate those small achievements;
- Take a moment of indulgence. Run a bath, take yourself out for a coffee, buy a new book, choose a movie and enjoy.
- Step back in time. Think back to one of the things you enjoyed as a child. Then just do it. Play tag, build some Lego, do some outrageous make-up, build a fort.
- Organise a get together with your tribe. Go out for dinner, catch up with your friends. Go dancing or play some pool. Hang out at the beach. Go bowling. Enjoy your company.
- Write yourself a letter. Fill it full of gratitude for what you have achieved so far and know you’ve done well. No, this isn’t stupid, do it.
- Give a little. You will have had your supporters or motivators along the way, reach out and thank them. Make a call to your best friend and talk to them. They will know how important that little step is for you.
There are many more you can find for yourself, the key here is to make sure you water your seeds a little. You need to make sure you keep moving forward. Even if it feels like you’re not.
Sometimes you’ll take a step in the wrong direction and your progress can take a hit. Those moments are important too, they are learning opportunities. Progress is not a straight road, there will be bumps and wrong turns for you to navigate.
The key is that you keep moving and don’t let your ego tell you how this error ruins everything. It doesn’t.
So remember. Nobody has patience as a virtue. People only have different levels of ability to suppress impatience. If you want to get to where you want to be, you will have to suppress the impatience along the way.
The best way to do that is to celebrate small advancements in small ways. Build a habit of identifying those small successes, your small ability to suppress the impatience and keep moving towards your goal.
I aim to create a little Spark inside of the reader’s mind, that could form into a flame in their soul. You are capable of more than you know. You may just need a prompt. I hope this finds you where you are, and offers you a little hope that your hard work is worth it.
You can reach me at leonpurton.com.