Do you remember when TV show cliffhangers mattered? Back when we couldn’t just tell Netflix we were still watching, and it would magically make the next episode start.
I used to watch a show called 24 with my family every Monday night, and when the episode was over, we were left anxiously awaiting the next one.
These days I’m different. In fact, earlier this week I made a conscious decision to not even start a TV series because I’d rather binge through the whole series after it’s over. I’m just not interested unless I can go straight to the next episode and the next one and the next one and so on. Bottom line is, I’ve got no patience in these little things and it has spilled in to all areas of my life.
In a culture so focused on immediate response and gratification, one of the most frustrating things to do is wait. We want to graduate college, or find a spouse, or get the dream job, and we want it all today. Sometimes it feels like those things we are so desperately waiting for will never actually come. As the years roll on by it’s like they are turned into some sort of fantasy or a goal that will always be just out of reach.
As someone that cannot even wait a few days for a TV show, I have been thinking a lot about waiting. In the past, I have always looked for ways around it, but recently I’ve been seeing what the time of waiting can really teach me. These are four simple things I have been learning in my time of waiting.
There’s a big difference between waiting and being patient. Sometimes having to wait is out of your hands, but you can always control patience. Your patience grows as you learn how to wait with a positive attitude and outlook. If you are caught up in worrying about how you are not where you want to be in life, than it will make the times of waiting much more unbearable. However, choosing to make the best of where you are at will grow your ability to remain positive in those unavoidable times when things are not perfect.
Recognize Small Accomplishments
It’s okay that you haven’t started that company, written that novel, or travelled around the world alone in a sailboat yet. You still have time for those things to happen. Continue to pursue the dreams you desire, but don’t let them take over your mind so much that you are unable to enjoy what you have already accomplished. Always take inventory of where you are at and where you have come from. Think of the little victories and rewards. Maybe you are a writer that hasn’t had a book published, but have you written things you are proud of? Are your newer writings better than your older ones? Always strive to be better, but don’t forget to rejoice in the smaller victories. Be proud of what you have done.
Do The Crappy Jobs Well
The crappy job goes by many names: entry-level, server, bartender, labourer, and whatever you call yours when you are most angry at it. No matter the title, all jobs have one thing in common: they give you money. It may not be as much as you want, or maybe even deserve, but someone is paying you to do that job. Do it well. Suck it up, and work as hard as you would if it were your dream job. Employers notice when you aren’t giving it one hundred percent, and they absolutely will tell others the truth when they’re called upon as a reference. Never let those bridges burn because you never know when you are going to need those bosses from the past in your corner.
If you are really determined and passionate about making your goals happen, chances are they will, so just take a breath! It’s not going to happen over night, and it doesn’t have to. In fact, it probably shouldn’t. You need this time of waiting. You need to experience what it feels like to accomplish goals, even if they’re small. Let this be a time of learning. Take in as much information as you can. Ask questions, do research, and be shaped by those that have been through the same things you are experiencing. It’s okay that you are not exactly where you want to be yet. The great thing about this world is that it will still need people to change it in a couple of years, and the more you prepare yourself for that role the better you will be at it.
Photo by (flickr CC): Jonathan Kos-Read