Blog

Patience and the challenge of organic progress in this Digital age

Learning to take your time

Once upon a time I was on holiday in Italy. I’d wandered down to a little fishing village – and saw little old ladies patiently and systematically untangling these fishing nets in a totally playful Zen-like state. devoid of ANY frustrations or haste.

I screamed in abject horror at the thought of doing that.

In other news, I stumbled across an American comedian in a YouTube clip who said:

Everything’s amazing and nobody’s happy

Now, I don’t agree 100% with this statement (both parts), but it did get me thinking, and it resonates with me for sure.

While it’s clear that living in the First world is great in many ways, it still has its problems.

Regardless of who I am working with, Seasoned Athletes, Entrepreneurs or just good old Regular Humans, patience is a problem.

It seems that it’s something we all struggle with. Take Elon Musk – arguably the most cutting edge technology pioneers, and developer of the Tesla Electric sportscar.
He said:

Patience is a virtue, and I’m learning patience. It’s a tough lesson.

And of course, he’s right.
Think how long it took to load this webpage – hopefully not that long – and just a matter of seconds.
but if it took anything longer than say, 10 seconds, I bet you growled or sighed “Come on!” under your breath.

What about how quickly Netflix streams HD movies right to our TV – it’s almost simultaneous. Most of the time – or unless you are with EE for your broadband (avoid them, both product and service is utter crap – for me at least).

The Problem

You might remember I touched on this in last week’s post.
That is, when our own development or progress rate doesn’t grow at sky-rocketing exponential rates that match up to Moore’s Law we get our panties in a bunch.

I am not impervious to this either. My progress in business, in Jiu Jitsu, my kids development, my strength.
All areas I want for greater rates of progress – but how does the saying go?

If wishes were horses then beggars would ride

That is, I can whine and stomp my feet about it as much as I want, it won’t escalate my progress one jot.

Some ideas

Well, firstly, taking actual action as well as having a useful feedback loop – as discussed loosely last week is a no brainer, but there is more that we can do about the frustrations:

  • We must remember that we are ‘Orga’ not ‘Mecha’. (sidenote: I loved the way this term, taken from the Spielberg film ‘A.I.’ differentiated us from machines)
  • Because of the above, we do well to remember how comparatively slow to change we are when compared to electronic or technological systems. Evolution is cautious mistress it seems.
  • Return to *this* moment, *this* breath and *this* day. Because it’s all we have anyway, and investing in the present will pay off in the future.
  • Lower our expectations. “Wait, What? Give up on the dream? Hellz no!” – No, not that, but just consider being gentler in the expectations you have on your rate of growth. You’ll grow when you grow. Get over it.
  • Stop comparing yourself to other people. They’re not you and can never be you, and turn your attention back to yourself in kindness.
  • Spend a moment to make a clear mental picture or yourself as a noble, resilient, interested and learning-capable person.
  • Float into that version of you. Readjust your physiology. Think his/her thoughts, hold his/her beliefs and values. If you had that much resilience and learning potential, how would your toes feel, your shoulders be held back and your spine be straight. Go explore and spend time as this ‘you’.
  • Do the above as an ongoing practice
  • Remember to breathe s’more.

I hope you found some of these (fairly unsexy and pretty obvious) ideas of some use. They work for me, at least some of most of the time.

When these ideas don’t work, a bit of fruity swearing helps too – it even acts as a painkiller.

I have always loved the way Shakespeare’s Coriolanus cusses out his men on the battlefield for their lame fighting performance:

All the contagion of the south light on you,
You shames of Rome! you herd of–Boils and plagues
Plaster you o’er, that you may be abhorr’d
Further than seen and one infect another
Against the wind a mile! You souls of geese,
That bear the shapes of men, how have you run
From slaves that apes would beat! Pluto and hell!
All hurt behind; backs red, and faces pale
With flight and agued fear! Mend and charge home,
Or, by the fires of heaven, I’ll leave the foe
And make my wars on you: (1.4.30-40)

Until next time.