How to Have More Patience in the Face of Failure

Patience in the age of instant gratification

Since failing out of Pharmacy School I’ve had to have patience in the recovery process. For me, patience is a combination of persistence and discipline. With these two attributes, I’m hoping I can execute my vision.

In an age of instant gratification for a lot of meaningless actions, I find it hard to have patience. So one of my goals is to work on having more patience.

The strongest of all warriors are these two — Time and Patience.― Leo Tolstoy

Aspects that can influence patience 

Have patience with yourself

I am my own worst critic and I often get frustrated when things are going as fast as I want. But I’m working on this and I think it’s a key aspect to achieving personal goals.

I can plan events, have timelines, and milestones but things go sideways along the way. It happens. Things can fall apart and I could fail, and I did.

Sometimes the fear of failing can prevent me from starting something, or confusion during the action (am I going in the right direction with a goal), can cause frustration and test my patience.

This is when my patience will be tested, will I keep going or will I give up? This doesn’t apply to tasks that have measurable outcomes, I have to be realistic and evaluate my skill set against the task.

If the task isn’t working then I have to do an honest evaluation of that task to see if it was right, then readjust the task.

Doing an honest evaluation of the task and your skill set is important. If I’m not a runner and I want to run a 6-minute mile in 30 days, it’s not going to happen.

But If I give myself realistic milestones then I can work on reducing my time slowly and see if the training that got me from 9-minute miles to 7 minutes applies if I want a 6-minute mile.

Patience builds on itself

There is no silver bullet or life-hack to build patience, it builds on itself. Imagine patience as a snowball rolling down a hill. The more you keep the snowball moving, the bigger it gets. This is the same for patience, start with a little patience and keep it going and eventually you’ll have more than when you started.

This would be contrary to today’s instant gratification lifestyle but you’ll see greater results if you have the persistence and discipline to keep at whatever you’re doing.

Competing with society

As I work on being more patient, society around me may be working in the opposite direction. Instant gratification is, almost by default, a normal way of life. Looking at smartphone usage, we are designing a lifestyle of instant gratification. It’s going to be a challenge to not let social pressures influence personal perspectives.

Reduce stress

I’m hoping one outcome of this experiment in patience will be that I can remain focused on my tasks and not be stressed. In times when I’m not receiving instant feedback or instant results, I want to be relaxed and collected.

Missing success

Going back to the competition with society, constantly looking for life-hacks and shortcuts in life make it easy to find mistakes and failure. I think of this as a Google search, how many times do you go beyond the first page? The second page? Not often I bet, I’ve been working on going through a few pages before I stop and refine the search parameters.

I can imagine working on something only a few times and giving up, but what if that next try worked? If I gave up, I would never know. Plus, when is the right time to give up? I might have a timeframe in my mind that is completely unrealistic to the goal.

This is why patience (and honest self-evaluation) is necessary today. A key to doing well in life, in my opinion, is the ability to be persistent and disciplined to keep going when others stop.  I had this mentality going into Pharmacy School so I should carry that mentality when leaving.

Looking outward

I think it’s important to look outside myself to see if my perspectives and goals are realistic or if they are consistent with each other. Patience comes into play when researching and reading other perspectives and doing an honest self-evaluation. This cannot be an instant process, it takes a lot of introspection and time but it’s important to achieve what I want.

The creation of the world did not take place once and for all time, but takes place every day.― Samuel Beckett

Final thoughts

With patience, mistakes and failures, won’t feel as devastating as they would with the instant gratification mindset. Patience can provide emotional and physical relief from the stress of needing everything now.


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