By Rhonda Collins, I Start Wondering Columnist
The phrase “Wait for it!” is a label seen regularly these days on online videos, as the person posting the video is asking us to watch until the end when something exciting happens. Although the request may make more people watch the video, it seems quite the opposite of what is happening in most other parts of our lives. Few people want to wait for anything. Our society seems to have devolved into a majority of impatient individuals who demand instant gratification.
In my series of articles about navigating your journey to success, I discussed that success is defined as the achievement of some goal or dream you have. And my final navigation step is “Don’t rush success.” This step requires much patience and perseverance.
We need to remind ourselves daily that we don’t have to be the first to cross the finish line or accomplish our goals at the same time as our peers. What’s important is that we finish, that we achieve what we set out to do. Success will come in its own time if you continue to persevere. Focus on the end goal and stick to your daily habits that will move you forward.
Some people seem to have an innate “passion” for achieving their goals. Their sense of exuberance and enthusiasm can be contagious as they excitedly talk about the thing they love. They have no qualms about diving in head-first to work full-throttle on the subject of their devotion.
I have often thought that people who have that passion about their goals must have an easier time being motivated day after day to achieve them. For example, I have artist friends who just cannot fathom going a day without working on their particular art. For them, the desire to create something seems as natural as breathing. They will work intensely for hours at a time on a project.
I have other friends who are athletes. They enjoy working out every day because they get that “runner’s high,” that state of euphoria where they seem to be able to go on forever.
I am neither an artist nor an athlete. I have never seen myself as a particularly passionate person and I’ve never once felt that runner’s high. So I’ve always felt at a disadvantage in my inability to conjure up what I perceive as “passion.”
Then, recently, I ran across a quote from Mark Z. Danielewski that made me rethink the notion of “passion.” In his novel House of Leaves, he writes: “Passion has little to do with euphoria and everything to do with patience. It is not about feeling good. It is about endurance. Like patience, passion comes from the same Latin root: pati. It does not mean to flow with exuberance. It means to suffer.”
No, I’m not suggesting that we all need to suffer to achieve our goals. What I am suggesting is that all it takes to be truly “passionate” about achieving our dreams is to be patient through the difficult times. Despite the challenges and obstacles (or any suffering), we must continue to slowly-but-surely move forward.
How? By taking a few minutes at least five days a week to work on our goals. We must make a habit of our work-on-the-goal time. Make it fun. Find friends to hold you accountable and to encourage you when you feel discouraged.
Finishing the Race
Remember the story of the Tortoise and the Hare? I am definitely the turtle in that race. I may not be enthusiastically passionate, but I am patiently passionate.
Perhaps you have felt as I have that you wish for that speedy rabbit’s eager and confident temperament. Remember, true passion is not about conjuring excitement; it’s about conjuring the wherewithal to finish the race.
Maybe you have tried and failed at something. Remind yourself that failing doesn’t mean you are a loser. Furthermore, just because you have won or accomplished something grand, it doesn’t mean the race for success is over.
When you feel discouraged because the finish line seems far away and you are wondering if you have the energy to finish, it’s helpful to stop and take a moment to reflect. Kristianne Wargo, founder of Create Your Now, suggests that while you are waiting for success, you should think about past accomplishments and how far you have come. “Waiting doesn’t have to be as dreadful as perceived by your own mindset,” Wargo says on a post on her website, CreateYourNow.com. “Success will continue to show up so long as you are willing to do what it takes to continue the journey.”
Remind yourself that true passion is about long-suffering patience, not overly eager enthusiasm. If you have taken the other steps toward navigating your life – setting priorities, making wise choices and letting other people help you – then you only need to keep putting one foot in front of the other and continue to move forward down your chosen road. Or maybe you prefer (as I do, living near the ocean) a little water in your metaphor. If so, remember what Dory said, “Just keep swimming!” Success will come.
Wait for it . . .
Sources for this Post:
Danielewski, Mark Z. House of Leaves. New York: Pantheon, 2000.
Read Aesop’s Fable, “The Hare and the Tortoise.”
Wargo, Kristianne. “5 Things to Do While Waiting for Success to Manifest in Your Life.” Addicted2Success.
Finding Dory. Film directed and written by Andrew Stanton and co-directed by Angus MacLane. Released 2016.