Patience has always had a negative connotation for me.
Have you ever had a conversation that sounded like:
“I wish my business was making more.” “Just be more patient! It takes time to grow a business!”
“Wow, I wish my belly fat would finally disappear.” “Be patient. Results take time.”
“I feel so un-fulfilled in my life.” “Well, be patient. Things will work out.”
In all of these situations, there is an underlying response that society has been condition to give us when we aren’t satisfied with how things are. The response focuses the lack of your success not only on you, but also suggests that it is out of your control to progress faster. The result is probably my two least favorite things to be told, “There is something wrong with you, and there is nothing you can do about it.” And that is what I hear every time someone says “Well, you need to be more patient.”
Recently, however, my perspective towards the word “patience” changed. Completely.
A few days ago I had been lamenting to my business partner, not about my businesses, belly fat, or how I felt about my life, but how I felt about society:
“Where are all the kids in their 20′s who are just crushing it in business?”
I had been inspired by young entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerberg with Facebook, Andrew Mason with Groupon, and Blake Ross with Firefox. But where were the young entrepreneurs now? There seemed to be rumors of them, but with the excepting of Zach himself, it seemed like no other person our age was crushing it, let alone really even interested in entrepreneurship.
I went searching, I wanted to find them, and at the time I didn’t know why.
It didn’t take long, it was the next day actually.
I was attending an open mic night, where local artists come and perform their music. These people were entrepreneurial, sure, but crushing it? Not yet. I was tucked in the back looking at one of the new Microsoft Surfaces, when some students joined me.
Our conversation was mainly casual, finally I got down to business and started looking for connections.
Just like that, the guy sitting next to me happened to be the 5th employee of a start-up that had just made a $22 Million deal with McDonalds.
I was impressed, especially when I found out that this group of entrepreneurs were his high-school buddies.
Now, how do you feel when you read this?
Some of you might not relate, some of you might be impressed, and some of you who are entrepreneurs might actually be depressed.
As an entrepreneur, you might be thinking, “Wow, I wish I had done that in high-school.” And maybe you are tempted to console yourself “Well, be patient, things will work out.”
However, as I started processing the logistics of the business I had just learned about, I came to one immediate conclusion: These kids were not patient.
These kids got things done.
Like I mentioned before, we have been conditioned to attribute our lack of success to be a fault of our not being patient. And as a result, we are conditioned to wait, to be patient, and wait for success to happen to us. And when it never does, we are told again, to be patient.
This application of the virtue of patience is actually one of two options. If it is the only one you have learned, then society has done you a disservice. It has taught you that in order to be patient, you must wait. However, there is another application that comes as a result of being patient. It is to take action.
Consider this definition of the word “patient” from the Oxford English Dictionary:
able to accept or tolerate delays, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious.
Taking action is, in fact, an appropriate way to “accept and tolerate delays, problems, and suffering,” and is also a means by which one does not “become annoyed or anxious.”
The desired outcome is that one does not become annoyed or anxious. The assumed course of action is usually waiting. However, you can take action without being annoyed or anxious.
Consider our first examples:
“I wish my business was making more.” Instead of waiting and continuing to do things how you have always done, you could also take a fresh look at your business and determine where you can do things better, faster, and more efficiently. When people notice that your business hasn’t been performing to expectation, and yet you keep your cool, AND you take action, they will consider you not only to be a patient person, but a pro-active one as well.
“Wow, I wish my belly fat would finally disappear.” True, following a certain program or diet will most likely yield results over time. But if it is not yielding results fast enough, there is nothing wrong with re-considering your approach. Chances are the best program isn’t the first one you committed to, and unless you have adequately and exhaustively researched other systems, you might have a lot to gain in your efforts to lose
“I feel so un-fulfilled in my life.” This is one that I would recommend taking action on immediately. Start by helping people in worse situations than yourself, and you will feel an immediately sense of contribution and fulfillment. This energy will allow you to start taking more risks, and tackle bigger challenges, which will pave the way for you to really make the difference that you want to see in the world.
Patience isn’t so much a plea for waiting, as it is a plea for accepting reality. When society suggests that we be patient, what it really is suggesting is that we are achieving results as fast as humanly possible, at least from their perspective. In an effort to keep us from feeling disappointed society suggests that we continue on without becoming frustrated.
However, as entrepreneurs we owe it to ourselves to take action. That is how businesses are made and success is achieved. Like the 20 year olds who are leading today’s billion dollar businesses, or the recent high-schoolers who landed a $22 Million deal, they take action, calmly, without becoming anxious or annoyed. They embrace the delays, problems, and sufferings, not by waiting for them to go away but by looking for ways to resolve. The most important attribute of a patient entreprenuer is: they get stuff done.
You owe it to yourself to take action!
So, why am I saying all of this? Because it’s time to take action! Zach and I are looking for entrepreneurs who are really looking to take their business to the next level, the type of people who really try to make a wave in society. We are holding a mastermind session twice a month at Zach’s house in Ogden, UT, or via online streaming and we want you to be there! To join, sign up here now!
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Special thanks to Michael Turney for posing for the creative image above. When I met Michael for the first time he was surrounded by two beautiful women with cameras. I’m not kidding!