"A series of small things do great things brought together."
Today I want to talk about patience.
In our modern age, humans are notoriously impatient. After all, we can connect to the Internet and call forth about anything on demand.
Any movie, song, article, book, fact, quote, research paper, whatever. That's amazing if you think about it.
We now have access to more information than you or I could process in a thousand lifetimes… at our fingertips!
This was not the case 20 years ago…
Twenty years ago, you would have to get in your car, drive to the library, speak to a librarian, and, if a book wasn't available, place a transfer order to have the book shipped to the library so you could check it out a week or two later.
If you wanted to watch a movie, not in the theaters, you would have to do the same at your local Blockbuster. (Ah, those were the days.)
If you wanted to communicate with a business college or friend, you'd have to send a letter with an actual stamp, or you'd have to call them and talk on the phone (shocking, I know).
Nowadays, we can do all of these things in seconds. In less than a freaking minute, I can download a book, start a movie, listen to any song, and send a message or email to anyone in the world.
And I love it. I love this power, and I bet you do too.
That said, technology comes with some negatives. The main ones are that we have become a constantly connected, on-demand, impatient, and distracted culture of people who can't listen, rarely take the time to stop and smell the roses, and often need to remember what life's all about.
This overwhelming access to opportunity and information made possible by the web would give more people the ability to become better, more aware, more knowledgeable, and more successful. Unfortunately, it has not changed people, as a general whole, all that much.
The same percentage of success-minded individuals will succeed as it's always been (or only slightly more of a %). The exact number of middle-class, hardworking people will live their days as middle-class, hardworking citizens.
I think that more people will become "successful" as a result of the opportunities that our connected world provides, but I don't think it's anywhere near where it could be.
Why is this?
Our society's on-demand, constantly connecting, instant-gratification nature has made people impatient and out of touch with what success takes. Success takes time and patience; it takes years.
The Internet has accelerated the process tremendously (Zuckerberg, for example). However, aside from the "one-hit wonders" of the Internet, success is still a slow, gradual process that takes more time and effort than most people are willing to commit.
To succeed in anything, you must be patient and respect the process. And in our society, these traits are becoming extinct with each passing day.
But other things are working against most people. It's also the vast amount of distraction that assaults our senses. With so much vying for our attention, you must be more focused than ever to get anything done. If you cannot prioritize how you are spending your time, you'll never be able to get anything done (which is why I turn off all notifications when working.)
When you have limitless options at your disposal, your brain creates a nagging voice in the back of your head that I call "choice anxiety." (Maybe someone else calls it that, but I wanted to avoid Google it.) When you have choice anxiety—which is worse when you have a million distracting notifications going off—you cannot do your best work. Your mind is constantly thinking about what else you could be doing.
A study suggests it takes 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back to the same mental work state you were in before being interrupted. That's crazy. And the thing is, interruptions most often come from our mind: we check our phone, messages, or email and bounce around from thing to something in a completely haphazard way. This is the worst way to get anything done. The worst.
You have to focus.
Then there's multitasking. Brain scientists point out that there is no such thing as "multitasking" and instead call it "task switching." This means that your brain can only focus on one thing at a time. So when you move between tasks, you are just switching jobs and not doing both things simultaneously. Research suggests multitasking lowers your IQ by 15 points, which puts most people in the range of an 8-year-old child. Damn.
Block out time every day to focus on your work. Two hours a day of focus, distraction-ere work spent on your work can change your life.
- Turn off those freaking notifications.
No matter what you are doing, turn off those notifications and stop "task switching." Notifications and distractions make you dumber and less effective; believe it or not, they raise your cortisol levels and stress you out. It's all bad news, bears.
- Be patient and embrace the process.
Getting better at work, with your business, in your relationships, or personal development takes time and patience. Your body and brain grow only when given time to develop. You have to give each the time to recoup, recover and super compensate (a weightlifting term meaning to rise above the original baseline).
Think of your body like a redwood tree. Those things have grown massive over hundreds and hundreds of years. Your body and mind are like the redwood tree; water, nourish, and watch it grow a little bit each day.