We live in a world where food is fast; information is fleeting, and time is money. There is no doubt then, that the notion of instant gratification is as much a part of this generation as Snapchat and Facebook.
In our efforts to save and make time more efficient, we might have missed the small things in life that help develop the patience and determination necessary to be great at something. Having to stand in line to get tickets for a concert, waiting at the check-in counter for a flight, flagging down a taxi or scheduling an appointment. Little-big things that shape our responses to situations.
Understanding this Generation and why it’s not JUST a “Millennial problem”
The younger generations going into the workforce become frustrated when they don’t see immediate movement or constant feedback in their career paths. The Millenial, with a technology dependence, short attention span, and supposed lack of work ethic and commitment, has become a sour word in the mouth of the baby boomer generation.
What we fail to understand is that this is not a generational problem of “laziness” but rather a cultural problem involving an overbearing sense that one can and should do everything and anything at any time, because we have the tools necessary to do so. Unsatisfied, might be a more appropriate word, and although this relentlessness to innovate is one of this generation’s greatest assets, we have to realize that in order to create anything revolutionary, whether it’s art, business, or science, long-term commitment is necessary.
Commitment is the equivalent of patience. When you teach someone patience you are also teaching them how to think critically. What do I have to do to get where I want to? If I invest in learning this today will it be beneficial in the future?
It’s important to work on developing patience because the entrepreneur is also one that is prone to the pressure of having to perform quickly. Patience in the age of distraction is an art that requires some effort.
It begins by accepting that the perfecting of your trade will take TIME
You have to put a lot of time into something until you become good at it- the good old “practice makes perfect”. Envisioning your dream company or organization is just the beginning, there is a lot of practice and perseverance that comes with the decision to move forward and make it a success.
Van Gogh did not begin his career as a painter until he was 27, when he decided he was going to study art, get to know every inch and every corner, practice relentlessly to acquire a cognisance of color and shape that cannot be compared to any other artist.
So instead of running against the clock, trying to always be one step ahead of it, learn how to ease into it and use it to your advantage.
Such as it is in life, in an entrepreneurial environment you have to be willing to put in 50,000 hours of work, make 15,000 mistakes, and get 30,000 NO’s, before you see any results. Committing to something means learning that mistakes are necessary to move ahead, and dealing with them when things take an unexpected turn is part of the process of reaching a goal. We all want to leave our mark on this world and our impatience for resolution increases by the second.
The second part of understanding commitment, patience, and time is understanding that some of the greatest achievements on this planet have taken a lifetime and some seem to have sprouted from the earth overnight- so, essentially, time is a state of mind.
When we feel too impatient to follow through with anything it’s because our focus is on the future and not on the “what can I do TODAY to get one step closer?”. You don’t learn how to walk by jumping onto your feet and into a sprint: you learn about your legs when you first move them, you begin to crawl, you try to get up and fall, but then you try again, sometimes you need to hold on to something to keep your balance, and then eventually, your legs and feet seem to have a mind of their own.
It’s all about taking baby steps towards big leaps
In this way, you teach yourself and those who work with you to delay gratification to get the ultimate, long-term result. Working on developing patience will aid your decision making process, because you will be constructing an internal web of understanding and empathy. This means that to grow first you have to grasp the process of growth fully- then you can begin letting go of your own impatience to listen and evaluate situations under pressure.
When the environment around you is inflamed by unknowns it is imperative that you learn to plant your feet on the ground to fight dissatisfaction with the outcomes of your work. As their leader, your team will look up to you for guidance in managing these aspects of the approach to business.
In expanding the limits of your patience and commitment you can develop a sense of empathy that is necessary to be in tune with the mindset of those around you, and more importantly, of your team. Patience is a virtue that is acquired through practice, it’s not given, but it can also be taught by example.
Being patient is a humbling experience. It levels the field, leaving room for intuitive reasoning. Did my actions lead to this mistake? Could I have done anything differently? How can I move from pointing fingers to collective problem solving?
Often times we see patience as an asset that is too emotional to be considered in the high-performance world of entrepreneurship, but emotional intelligence is the defining factor between an idea that succeeds and those that don’t. Training in tolerance for changes and failure, with ourselves and others, is a great way to constantly be in sync with the bigger picture.
Patience leads to long-term results, not short-lived initiatives. It gives us the flexibility to mold into any situation, like water filling in the contours of anything it’s placed in.
“Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there someday.”- A.A. Milne.