How this nasty vice can be your saving virtue
Yes, patience has been honored through the ages as a positive character trait. But as with anything good it can also be turned around.
Take happiness for example. Patient people will wait for it. Hope for it. And pacify themselves into a sleepy state of inaction as they quietly, yet passively look forward to it.
They know it will come eventually.
Possibly after they get the promotion. Or after the kids are raised and move out. Or after the storms in their lives are passed.
And they’re content with that.
They’re fine to wait.
It’s just over the next horizon. Or if not that one, maybe it’s the one beyond that. Or possibly…
I don’t understand this sort of patience.
They say, “Good things come to those who wait,” to which others add, “Yeah, but only the things left behind by those who hustle.”
I have never been what anyone would call a patient person, though I tried.
I remember I once bought a rusty old Jeep CJ-7 thinking that because it was inherently a slower vehicle it would prevent me from getting speeding tickets. Nope.
I’m an if-I-can-get-it-now-why-wait sort of a guy. How ‘bout you?
Anything that can speed up the process is worth looking into.
That’s why I got so excited about the research in positive psychology. You know about this, right? Top-tier universities like Harvard, Stanford, UC Berkley, and the University of Pennsylvania have been studying people who thrive. What they’ve found is they can conduct certain experiments on people, which will trigger positive responses and replicate certain outcomes.
They can make people happier by provoking feelings of gratitude or instilling a newfound sense of awe or by rekindling loving relationships, or prompting people to feel connected and valued.
And they can do it consistently and reliably.
So it begs the question, if scientists can trigger positive feelings in others with these exercises (they call them “interventions”), does that also mean outside of the lab we can do the same for our own lives? Can we self-spark our own happiness?
I’m happy (ha) to report the answer is YES!
Take a skills-based approach to greater peace, joy, satisfaction, and happiness and you no longer have to wait.
You can be as happy right now as you’re willing to be.
If gratitude and awe and relationships are things that boost our happiness and life satisfaction levels, impatient people will say, “How can I shortcut this? What can I do right now?”
And they’ll do it.
Impatient people are action takers.
Patient people, on the other hand may listen to this research, tuck that bit of insight away, and nod their heads content to know that next time they feel a sense of awe it will boost their feelings of happiness.
Eventually, they’ll get it too. If they’re still paying attention.
Which, um… is unlikely.
But think of those impatient people — those wonderfully restless, eager, highly excitable people who are going to take this information and do something about it. Not only are they going to deliberately do things to spark their happiness, but also they’re going to be paying attention to see if it works. William Feather once said, “Plenty of people miss their share of happiness, not because they never found it, but because they didn’t stop to enjoy it.” To which I would also add the importance of awareness. Think how often we miss incredible opportunities that were right under our noses, but we didn’t see them for what they were.
Impatient people will take the shortcut.
There’s got to be an easier way.
A faster way.
I want it now, what do I do?
Impatient people get all the luck.
They won’t wait for their opportunity. They won’t hope for it. They won’t be passive about it. They’ll pursue it. They’ll make it.
Now that they know happiness is a skill, no obstacle can prevent them from obtaining it.
I saw a tennis ad years ago that said “Some men are born great. Others wrestle greatness to the ground and kick it until it just gives in.”
There’s no stopping impatient people.
Patient people, on the other hand, will stop themselves.
Are you wonderfully impatient? Download my free workbook to train yourself to Expect Good Things to Happen.
Click here to download the Expect Good Things to Happen workbook.
I have one purpose only. To inspire you to consistently spend ten minutes each day in deliberate mental focus, then intentionally participate in a growth stretching activity. Do this and you will change your life.
Originally published at medium.com