Dear Why Team member,
Do you hate to wait? Why?
This is a topic of which I am very passionate. In a world of "I want it all and I want it now," it begs the question why so many of us cannot wait. I guess it would sound a bit strange to say, "I want it all and I want to wait for it." But that may very well be the path best chosen. In the spring of last year I purchased an old home in the first residential area of Cincinnati. As I walked through the house with my mother, I said to her, "Mom, I never thought I would live in a home like this," she turned to me, placing her hand on my chest, and simply said, "You waited."
Ask any of my three children, "What does daddy always say?" And they will respond, often begrudgingly...
..."Good things come to those who wait."
Isn't patience referred to as a virtue? This idea of waiting is losing it's vitality and importance in our "have it now" culture. Recently, I began reading again "The Road Less Traveled" by M. Scott Peck. This book had a profound affect on me when I first read it twenty years ago. Remarkably, this book was on the New York Times bestseller list for 10 consecutive years. The first chapter alone is worth the cost of the book. Well, sure enough, out of the gate, the book gets into the importance of delaying gratification. We see this in so many areas of our lives. Rarely is the knee-jerk choice the smartest choice, few decisions benefit from speed and impulsivity. There has been times in my life that I have had my foot to the floor, engine roaring, tires spinning and while maybe sounding impressive, I was not making progress with no traction. Most everyone knows that creating financial wealth, for example, necessitates a lot of not buying what we want now and putting money aside for the future. In our have it all now culture, this can be quite difficult. But those who can wait, however, are the ones often best able to negotiate the challenges of life. While there is so much evidence for the power and benefits of waiting, why do so many fall prey to "I want it now, to hell with the consequences?"
Scott Peck believes the origins are found in childhood. Because we humans are completely dependent upon adults from birth through adolescence, we all have a deep seated fear of abandonment. Abandonment means death to a child. This gives a parent a lot of power. If the parent lacks awareness, that power can be misused to control and manipulate the child. The consequence is that with less trust in the future, the child tries all the more to live more fully in the moment, distracting themselves from the unknown future. Why postpone joy now for a future that's uncertain and scary? Why not enjoy life as much as I can today, because who knows if there will even be a tomorrow? And of course these children grow to be parents who raise children in a similar fashion.
It is not easy, in fact it can be downright painful, to wait. Delaying gratification, however, is an expression of faith, confidence and hope in the future. It stems from a belief that one has a future and can influence the quality of that future if they can but delay their gratification today. Why wait? To learn more about ourselves. Pain is a teacher. If it hurts to wait, wait and learn why. As the saying goes, "no pain, no gain." Be among the few that can wait, developing more hope for the future and less anxiety around your own impulsiveness. The root word to discipline is disciple, to teach. Self discipline is to be a disciple first and foremost to yourself. Teaching oneself via self discipline. To forgo what you want now for what you want most. While good things can of course come to those who hustle, greater things can come to those who can wait.
Be not a slave to your passions for they most certainly can bind you up and keep you from living the freedom only delaying gratification can provide. Be disciplined, be a disciple, less a slave to your passions and more a servant to your highest ideals and aspirations.
Make it a great week,
** If you arrived here via Facebook or Twitter and would like to sign up to receive each blog post as it is announced, along with future news about upcoming books and other projects I am working on please sign up here.