We live in a time of immediacy.
Don’t get me wrong – this can be great. The speed at which we can learn or acquire what we need to continues to increase, allowing for efficiency across a number of areas in our day-to-day life. We can do so many things that the generation before us didn’t have the ability to, and not just because of technology. The speed at which we’re learning seems to be faster than ever before. The standard for success seems to be higher than ever before. The levels of achievement seem to be greater than ever before. Unintentionally, however, this has led to a deeper psychological and behavioural impact on our generation than I’m sure most would have predicted.
Here’s the problem.
You want a high salary, but you don’t want to put in the work. You want that summer body, but you don’t want to work out. You want the results, but you want to avoid the process.
Instinctively, you pursue the fastest route to your desired outcome. You just want to get things over and done with, out of the way and onto the next one. The problem is that as a society we’ve started prioritising being efficient over being effective – we’ve chosen speed over quality. Discipline and diligence have become increasingly rare amongst our generation. And let’s not brush over the fact that this is part of our branding too; the common perception is that “millennials” are a lazy and impatient generation.
We want instant gratification, instant access and instant results.
We’re always thinking “when I have this” or “when I do this” then I’ll be happy, instead of thinking “I’m focused on being happy now and I’m on my way to having/doing this”. We become so consumed with the future that we lose sight of our present value. This is an unsurprising side effect of today’s consumerist culture – it’s an infectious mentality of wanting more. Every time we get something, we want the next big thing. It’s never enough. As a result, we forget how much we once wanted what we have now. Gratitude has become scarce.
Have you ever noticed that so many of the “happy” people you see are generally less concerned with the future? Call it blissful ignorance if you want, but the reality is that these “happy” individuals are content (at least partly) because they seem to be more focused on what they have or are doing today and now. Being content and in a state of happiness is being self-aware of the present.
I think that this all comes back around to being contended with the patient perseverance to endure.
The Oxford dictionary defines patience as the “capacity to accept or tolerate delay, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious”.
I’ll admit it – patience isn’t a quality usually associated with me. I can sometimes become frustrated or irritated when certain situations don’t develop as expected. I’m fully self-aware of this and I’ve really been trying to work on it for some time. But I realise that this is a maturity process; not just for me, but for a lot of us.
It’s about learning and accepting the reality that not everything goes your way and that’s absolutely fine. It’s about building enough resilience over time so that even when the inevitability of hardship occurs, you’re more than capable of adapting to it whilst still coming out on top.
A self-awareness of the purpose of your end goal, which coincides with a conscious appreciation of the process required, will ultimately help you to remain grounded over a long period of time. It is this mentality that can help you to avoid giving up too quickly and giving in too soon.
Remember to find opportunity even in adversity.