I'm Matthew Setter. I'm a security researcher, privacy advocate, software engineer, and tech writer, who loves teaching people all that I know.
Why Patience Is The Essential Ingredient in Goal Achievement
Not achieving the success you desire? I’ll show you 4 reasons why patience is the essential ingredient in goal achievement.
Patience my dear boy, if there’s one thing you’re lacking, it’s patience. Good things come to those who wait my son. Do you have ants in your pants? Always looking to the future, but never his mind on where he was.
These are all terms I’ve been told or labels attached to me over so many years. And they’re all true!
I’ve forever flitted from one subject to the next, starting with great enthusiasm and energy. I’d declare that this was THE thing for me, the thing I MUST do.
A flurry of energy would follow, and I’d be off like a shot, reading everything and making a fantastic start. But, before too long, the enthusiasm would inevitably wane as a passion for something new would take over.
In the process the existing passion seemed no longer appealing. It was ok, but really not that attractive anymore. All the work would be left by the wayside barely even begun, books started would never be finished; and so the list goes on.
I believe that, as a result, up until fairly recently, I’ve not achieved the kind of success I’ve always wanted.
Perhaps you can relate?
It’s therefore rather a sweet irony that in relentlessly chasing success I was never going to achieve it; because I was never patient enough to stick at anything long enough to allow success to take hold.
If you feel that you’re suffering from the same problem, today I’ll show you 4 reasons why patience is the essential ingredient in goal achievement. It’s helped me turn things around. I’m confident it can do the same for you.
1. All Good Things In Time
This was a phrase my Dad was always fond of saying. Perhaps he loved it, perhaps he believed in it, or perhaps he just felt his son needed to hear it.
Me on the other hand, I always wondered when exactly “in time” was? What date should I stick in my calendar? Just how far in the future was “in time”?
But it’s, mostly, true, in time all good things can happen. You just have to appreciate that whatever it is you’re seeking to achieve, will need time. Assume for a moment that you want to create a balcony garden.
You go out, buy all the necessary supplies, setup the pots, put the soil in them, plant the seeds at the necessary depth, then give them some water.
Would you come back in an hour, later in the afternoon, or even the next morning and expect to have a fully grown and beautiful looking garden?
I assume you’re thinking no — right?
It’s no different with anything else. So why do we expect it to be? Why do we expect that things will miraculously appear just because we’ve decided that that’s what we’re after now? It’s a little infantile.
2. From Little Things Big Things Grow
This phrase is said many different ways; likely the next most popular one is “from humble beginnings come great things”.
Most companies the world over, at one point or another, started out as just an idea in someone’s mind, and if they progressed beyond that, they became a company run by only a handful of people, perhaps no more than 5.
In the age of venture capitalism, with multi-million dollar angel investments, this isn’t always the case. But for most companies they start out small, without any guarantee of success. I’m a nerd, so the story of Apple captures this best.
As you likely already know Apple, today, is one of the largest companies in the world, one with cash reserves greater than many countries. But even it started out in a garage in California, as the idea of two people: Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.
There were no shareholders, no corporate offices, no long queues of people lined up down the street waiting to buy what they had on offer? Before they became the success they are today they almost went broke.
So as you start out small, even if it’s just you in your spare time, remember that before you can be big, before you can be successful, before you can be whatever it is you dream of being, you have to begin.
3. A Body of Work vs A Flash in the Pan
This one really hit me this week, as I sat looking over my freelance writing portfolio. The list of articles seemed to scroll on ad nauseam. I know that I’ve created a lot of content for all my writing clients.
But without seeing it physically, the significance never fully registered consciously.
My curiosity was piqued, so I started counting how many pieces were listed; there were no less than thirty-five. On a grand scale that’s not an extremely large number.
But this is only a fraction of the content I’ve created in the last few years.
In that moment, I felt a great sense of satisfaction and pride. I felt like a real writer, like a true professional. I no longer felt like this was something on the side or a hobby.
It really brought home to me what a wonderful body of work, what a wonderful legacy, I’m building for myself.
But a body of work takes time and patience. It can’t come overnight. I couldn’t have achieved what I have so far by just getting excited.
I had to start somewhere, with just one client. I had to keep on going when it seemed like it would never amount to anything. I had to keep on trying, even when I had no energy or enthusiasm to do so.
Without this patience (and persistence) this moment of satisfaction would never had eventuated.
4. Delayed Gratification
This is something I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older. I’ve seen the value in it because of what it’s given me. However, I feel that more and more, messages such as “get it now”, “don’t wait”, “buy today, pay tomorrow” are becoming incessant, even all-pervasive.
I worry that we’re coming to expect that success just happens, perhaps magically, because we’ve decided we want it. I fear that we think what we want will drop out of the sky, because we want it to.
If so, that’s a sad place to be. I’m not getting all Orwellian — really.
Instant gratification is wrong on so many levels, mainly because when something takes time, dedication, patience, perseverance, and consistency, the value in it is immeasurable.
It’s like winning money, versus doing something to earn it. The level of appreciation is never the same.
Ask yourself, what would mean more to you, what would contain more substantial value, something you had to work hard to achieve, or something which was just given to you?
And so it is with delayed gratification. Sure it takes longer, sure it may seem like it will never happen, sure it seems like too much hard work at times; but when it happens, you can’t put a price on it.
These are my 4 best reasons why patience is the essential ingredient in goal achievement. Sure, it might be nice to have it all now, but would you appreciate it if it was just handed to you? If you did, would it mean anything? Think about it, then look at what you’ve achieved.
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