Online shopping, streaming shows, and instant messaging are just some of the ways technology has made our lives easier.
With this convenience, we’ve become accustomed to expecting instant gratification, not just in daily activities but also in our education and career paths. We put too much value on the path of least resistance, judging the worthwhileness of our causes, projects, and activities by how fast and how easy we can accomplish results.
In my work I see many youths decide to take courses based on how easy the teacher or the class is and how likely it is that they will be able to get good grades without having to put much work in. I also see a lot of young adults looking for shortcuts in their career ladder, becoming frustrated, unmotivated, and disengaged when the promotion doesn’t come after a year.
When we give into our impatience, we end up blindly following whatever path that is easier, without knowing where it leads. Our thinking is clouded and our judgments compromised. And as our actions are fueled by impatience, we embark on these paths with full speed, failing to take the time to consider the bigger picture. As long as we go from one success to another, we are happy and satisfied, but once things get difficult and require time and effort, many throw in the towel and look for the next easy path.
If we continue allowing impatience to lead us, we will one day look back and all we will see is a list of abandoned projects and unfinished works with nothing finished to show for.
If you find yourself jumping from one idea to another, one career to another, one college major to another, here are three ways to help you stick with one thing and see it through.
Define your purpose, passion, and values.
Happiness doesn’t come from checking off task after task. It comes from following our passion and purpose while remaining true to our values. If you don’t know what your passion and purpose are, follow the steps in the previous post to help you. There is no point rushing to get to an undefined destination.
Don’t judge a path by its length or difficulty rating.
Expect and be OK with spending a lot of time on a plateau, honing your skills and bettering your craft. Routinely practice your art, get feedback from trusted friends and mentors, and keep making improvements until you’ve reached a level of mastery. Thomas Edison’s path to discovering the light bulb included a thousand failed attempts, but the contribution he made to mankind is timeless. Wins and failures both have lessons to teach us. Look back on your wins to see what you did and how you can replicate the success. Also, as hard as it may be, look back on your failures to know where you went wrong, what mistakes you made and what you can do differently next time.
Mind your own journey.
Keep your focus on your own journey. It doesn’t matter which path others are on or how much success they claim to have achieved. Their purpose is different than yours. Choose one thing you’re interested in and keep getting better at it even when things get hard. To help you stay focused on your journey, keep a diary of your wins, as small as they may be, and look back on a weekly or monthly basis to make sure your accomplishments stay in-line with your passion, purpose, and values.