The two most powerful warriors are patience and timeLeo Tolstoy
Tolstoy* compresses the fable of the tortoise and hare beautifully.
No matter what, patience is a virtue and will get you where you want to go. If you feel that time is zipping by, that your days are fading with alarming quickness and months are passing without progress being made and even years are rolling on by without celebration – well, there’s a chance you’re just not trying or you attempts are misdirected.
But if you are genuinely trying; to continue anything, to start a business, a project, a new hobby, anything with definite purpose – do not rush.
An equally valuable thing to be mindful of at this point is not to compare your progress with anyone else’s.
No one person on this planet has lived the same life – not once – not then, not now, not in the future. So forget about what they’ve done. Treat it is an irrelevance to your progress.
Once you are able to think in these terms, you free yourself to successfully pursue your goals.
Them vs You
Common warping properties to be aware of are comparisons that relate to age and societal milestones.
If you can’t use the toilet effectively by your 20s that’s a cause for concern, but if you haven’t published a book by the age of 40 for instance, don’t panic, it’s fine. Going by average longevity there’s still 40 years to go. That’s 50% or more!
The tendency is to think of our lives in distinct sections which is a real mistake.
The media segments us, advertisers categorise us, and then you do it to yourself: through ambition that has been forced to become a contortionist in reaction to those factors and more besides.
Like, if we haven’t done something by a certain age every effort is wasted from that point on? Do not buy in to a false reality. There’s no receipt, no refunds.
Once you win the war against competing voices and influences, and have the discipline to do what you need, the path to achievement goes from being a multi lane highway at rush hour to a single road that’s yours alone. There’s not even a speed limit. You laugh and mock the autobahn.
Keep Going, and Go Some More
Focus is needed to realise your goal(s) and without the discipline to follow through consistently, over time, your effort will stutter and halt. You will not succeed in a day what takes many hours to achieve through accumulated effort.
But funnily enough, your consistent efforts will often seem to come to fruition in a very short time period. When you push a rock up the hill like Sisyphus (and aren’t condemned to do so for eternity) you will reach the top, it is inevitable. And there’s a tipping point. With a nudge the rock tumbles down the hill. Without any further intervention the rock stays where it is or rolls back down hill where you came from.
Think of a person who is great at what they do.
In fact, let’s step away from the overachievers for a moment. Hell, think of anyone who is good at what they do.
Have you seen them working/training day to day? Have you seen them during their hours of work? The minutiae of their day?
We just see the final product. We rarely see or are able to get a sense of the day to day monotonous tasks that most go through to make something happen.
People who make something look effortless are magicians – because they’ve made you forget about the turn, the middle part of the trick. They’ve made you forget about the countless hours invested.
Never give up – is not advice to give to criminals, but it holds true in most other circumstances, an exception being if you’re committed to doing something but doing it in a way that is incorrect to accomplish that goal. But even then you learn a lesson or several.
I’ve caught myself in the mental trap of must achieve this by this time. Many times.
I won’t do it again though. I wrote off ambitions and solid ideas because I too bought into the notion that age and achievements are intertwined. The absolute worst thing you can do is convince yourself that you do not have time.
The antidote to that is to be confident in your abilities to reach the goal and develop a singular mindset to achieving what it is you wish to do.
Once you solidify a plan of attack, you actions take on a decisiveness and unquestioning drive. Patience and time are your friend, never your enemy.
However, once you reach the point of fully executing the plan, you can turn the heat up, from a slow steady burn to a white heat. Where once planning and strategising were critical, now a samurai directness is needed.
Identify What is Halting Progress
I haven’t mentioned anxiety so far until in this sentence.
Anxiety kills. It kicks ideas into oncoming traffic with ruthless routine. If you have an idea, or aim, with a firm belief in its success but anxiety and dread-filled future projections stop you from implementing them, in that scenario you need to do some inner work.
Identify what the anxiety is and work on extinguishing it. Neatly, time and patience are once more there to assist you and when ready you can resume or start a project with confidence.
Remember, overnight successes are a myth.
Although, there are people who have woken from a dream in which they imagined the solution to a problem. But they still had to put the ideas into action, to make them real, to put in effort.
I’ve taken awhile to realise what my strengths and ambitions are.
Certainly later than I ever thought. And I was lucky enough at one point to meet someone inspiring, who told me that they took quite some time to realise what they wanted to do, into their late twenties while they lived in a council flat. And now they’re incredibly successful in multiple areas. They gave themselves the time to be them and formulate a plan.
I hadn’t said anything at all to give reason for them telling me that. They could see I was dejected and lacking purpose. And their words stuck with me, and I stopped panicking about time passing, about where everyone else is relative to me.
On that note, it pays to think fast and slow, as in the title of psychologist and exceptional thinker, Daniel Kahneman’s book (one of the well known, well publicised books of substance).
The fast tends to be interspersed with the slow.
In a life that can feel as if on reactionary hyperdrive, looking into life coaching or a similar field is very worthwhile to help you navigate your future and provide perspective.
There are many things such as restricting social media use, limiting entertainment, or meditation if that’s your thing which can help us to step back – and then we can see the stars one by one instead of them being a blur of light.
*Having written one of the most notoriously difficult reads in War and Peace, with 500+ characters, it seems Tolstoy had to say that!