Dear Why Team member,
I hope this weeks message finds you well and encouraged. This week we explore what it means to wait.
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. Plus it might help to consider why we do “want it all”; what thoughts of lack are pushing us to want so much more so fast?
Six years ago, 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." Two weeks ago, I sold that home as it was no longer fitting our lifestyle. In a world in which much is at our fingertips, consider stopping and thinking about all that you want right now, is it what you really need or are you piling up unnecessary things?
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 effect on me when I first read it over 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 have been times in my life when I have had my foot to the floor, engine roaring, tires spinning and while maybe sounding impressive, I was not making progress without 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 seeded 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. Consider waiting as a mental exercise: training your brain to wait can bring positive effects on your health and your future.
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 ourself. Teaching oneself via self discipline by forgoing what we want now for what we want most. Good things can come to those who hustle, so hustle to become more patient because 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 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,