Patience Really Is Everything

Patience Really Is Everything

The ability to delay gratification, or patience, is one of the most valuable qualities a person could have. Especially when it comes to endeavors that take years before seeing rewards. For example, it is needed to become a doctor, write a book, learn a new language, loose weight etc.

Patience is a prerequisite for doing anything great.

Patience is what differentiates successful business owners and not-so-successful ones. That's because if you try to get as much money as possible as soon as possible, you are not focusing on what you should be focusing on, which is to build a solid foundation that will make your company last.

Patience does not come easy to me.

I became hyper-aware of this fact ever since I started my project, which was an affiliate website. With this site, I have struggled to do the things that don't get immediate results but are crucial for the long term success of the site.

Namely, I have neglected the fact that I should fill the site with interest pieces. Those are articles that don't make money directly but make the site as a whole more interesting and trustworthy. Such value is harder to see and more delayed. But it is very important for any website to have that in order for it to survive long-term.

The reason why it's not that easy to just go for the long term benefits is because of my scarcity mindset. I think 'if I don't take the money now, I may not get any at all in the future because some sort of disruption may occur in the market.' 

While those may be legitimate fears, I shouldn't put too much weight in them. Besides, I know that the people that are most successful are the ones that are strong enough to not take the money. 

Patience is very important if I want to be successful with anything. So right now I'm doing everything I can to strengthen that muscle. 

Forget About Rewards – Do Things For Their Own Sake

Forget About Rewards – Do Things For Their Own Sake

Every once in a while I get in a mood where I don't feel like doing anything. Take writing a product review for my other website for example. In those blue moments I'm thinking things like "what if no one will read it?" or "what if I get outcompeted by other more established sites?"

Those things would mean that my effort would have been for nothing. That is a very possible thing that could happen and it has been one of my greatest mental obstacles, not only in writing but in virtually everything else. 

This is just irrational - I'm basically demanding a guarantee of results before I go out and do something, when we all know that nothing in life can be guaranteed. 

I need to change my attitude on this.

I think one cure for this mental obstacle is to not care about the result in the first place. I've noticed that the people who become successful are the people who enjoy the process more than they enjoy the reward. You can see this very clearly with all NBA players - even if they didn't make any money out of it, you can tell that they'd still keep playing basketball in their free time. 

Just like them I need to learn to love the process way more than the reward. I can already see this manifested with some things in my life: playing basketball, running, blogging and other things I can't think of right now. It may be that it is not possible for me to learn to love writing product reviews, in which case I'll have to move on to something else. But I do think it's possible to learn to love even the most mundane job, you just have to get creative. 

My goal is to eventually have everything I do be something I'd do even if there was no reward. Because the more my days are filled with that, the more fulfilling a life I will have.  

Understanding My Limitations

Understanding My Limitations

I love running.

I love it because of how clear a metaphor it is for so many aspects of life. It's one of the simplest ways to teach yourself how to become a better person. For example, the experience of pushing yourself after you think you have nothing left is something you can transfer in your work or relationships. 

Running has taught me a lot about myself, including the fact that I am capable of more than I previously thought. Just when I thought I couldn't run any longer, I somehow found a way to keep going. (mostly with the help of running with other people)

It turns out that whenever I feel like stopping, I usually have more than a few miles left in me. Thinking that I couldn't keep going was all in my head. I had a self imposed limitation that wasn't reflective of reality. The cool thing is that the more you push yourself the more you realize that you don't know where your own limit is.

If this is true for running, where else is it true? That is an exciting question to wonder about.

Creating My Own Success Story

Creating My Own Success Story

Yesterday I listened to Isaac Morehouse's podcast episodes were TK Coleman told his story.  In them I got to hear TK's weird professional path, which was nothing short of amazing. Other than being entertaining, there were quite a few lessons that I learned from his journey. Things like 'you don't need to plan out your whole life to be successful - you just need to treat every opportunity you take with integrity.' He also reinforced in me the importance of constantly doing something creative such as blogging. 

However inspiring TK's story was, I couldn't help but think of how little I related to him. It seemed that he had a good amount of integrity, confidence, and resolve which are things that I'm currently lacking in.

Listening to the podcast made me wonder whether those intangibles can be newly created or whether they are something you need to have from the beginning in some way.

What if all of the qualities that make a person successful - integrity, confidence, resolve, resilience, curiosity, the ability to defer gratification etc. - have been killed inside of me due to the fact that they were neglected (and sometimes outright smothered) for so long?

I'm starting with a far from ideal family history, which has fostered in me immense self-doubt and self-hatred. Right now I'm in the process of removing all that muck from my system.

To this date, I have yet to hear stories that started with my specific deficiencies and ended up with happiness and fulfillment. Maybe there's a reason for that - because most of the ones that started like me didn't succeed. That's a really scary possibility.

Even if that's true I'm not going to let it stop me from trying.

Rekindling My Love For Reading

Rekindling My Love For Reading

I first found the joy of reading when I was about 15 years old. I know, it's a little late. Let me explain. The thing is, I didn't grow up in an environment that exemplified the fun of reading. In fact, I grew up in an environment that did the opposite. Case in point, I grew up with friends that would make fun of me if I were caught with a novel on hand. It also goes without saying that schools sucked at making reading appealing. Despite those obstacles, I ended up being gravitated towards books once. 

I remember the first time I discovered the magic of books. It was during one summer in the empty library of the small town of Rugby, North Dakota. I went in there just because I enjoyed being alone and, since it was always relatively empty, I considered it my perfect place to be just that. Since I was there I thought 'why don't I start reading?' So I did. Now that I think about it, it's hard to believe that the first book I decided to read was Stephen King's The Stand. At more than 1100 pages long, I chose this book simply because it was the biggest book I could find. I just liked the challenge of it. Since it was Summer I had all day to read. And so I did. I averaged about 100 pages a day and I thought I was so awesome for it. The book did not disappoint. Not coincidentally, this was also the beginning of my love for horror. 

After reading this book, I kept on reading. I picked up some more King books and then some James Patterson and then some Kenneth Oppel. I even got into the non-fiction world. I was loving it. But then everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked. And by "Fire Nation" I mean high school.  

Once high school started, I read less and less frequently due to exhaustion. With class, homework and extra curriculars, I just couldn't find the time. There were waves during the summer when I got back into it, but for some reason it stopped being as fun. I guess I shouldn't pin this all on school, since my (let's say) suboptimal home-life was also not helping. It was like the fire in me that loved books was getting smaller. When high school was over I did start some books but never finished any.

There was still a part of me that loved books though. My high school days did not completely kill my yearning for books, but they certainly tried.

Fast forward to a year ago. My main source of education and entertainment has now been in the form of podcasts. I just found them a lot easier to get into. I knew however, that I was missing a lot of valuable pieces of content that were only in the form of books, so I thought to get myself a Kindle and try this reading thing again. So far I've found it to be a success. I've read quite a few full books for the first time in a long time. I've also read countless online articles that I never would have otherwise. I'm realizing now that the inconvinience of physical books has been a small but significant barrier for me.

Maybe it's the fact that I got a Kindle or maybe it's the fact that I'm escaping my depression (or maybe both), I'm just glad that I'm picking up reading again. I hope to someday regain that feeling of joy I had that first Summer. I miss it a lot. 

Don’t Underestimate The Power Of Internal Motivation

Don’t Underestimate The Power Of Internal Motivation

When I was in high school, my basketball coach asked me to join the cross country team and I reluctantly said yes. At that time I hated running. I ran as a form of conditioning in basketball and track, but I viewed it as a necessary evil.

I remember, after every practice run or race, I told myself "I never want to do that again," but somehow I always found myself doing it again. Not surprisingly though, that was my first and only season of cross country.

This last summer I made the decision to start running as a way to get back into shape. Later, I ended up joining a running club. Miraculously I now enjoy running.

Back then I was barely able to run a full 3 miles without feeling like dying. Now, after five sedentary years and gaining 30 pounds, I am somehow able to run 8 miles consistently. Not only that - I went from dreading the next time I had to run to looking forward to it.

If you told me that I was capable of running 8+ miles straight back then, I would have called you crazy. Now I do those runs on a weekly basis. Also, I'm looking to increase my endurance to the point where I can do 18+ mile runs.

So What Changed?

It's not that I wasn't physically able to run 8+ miles during high school. After all, I was in way better shape back then. I would say that back then I did not have the same internal motivation. My reasons for running did not come from within. Rather, my biggest reason for why I ran was that I didn't want to disappoint my coaches. This was an external motivation, which could only take me so far.

This time around, it was solely my choice to start running. There's no external pressure to do it - I know that I can quit any day and no one would care or think less of me. It may sound counterintuitive, but this freedom is what allows me to stay motivated. That's because it lets me know that I'm doing it because I genuinely want to.

We all understand this of human nature: if you tell a person what to do, they are less likely to want to do it, even if they know it's in their own interest to do it. Also, if the person does it, they will most likely do a worse job than if it was through their own volition. 

During school (and I guess throughout my whole childhood) I got accustomed to being controlled. I was told what I should or shouldn't do and what I should or shouldn't aspire to. As a result, I lost touch with my own wants and needs - the things that wake up my internal motor. 

I think this is what happened with me and running. I felt the external pressure to run, therefore I didn't do so well. Now that I have no one telling me what to do and feel no pressure, I am more motivated than ever to be a better runner. Now, instead of having people push me, I have an internal motor that's faster and unrelenting. 

Making the transition between being internally motivated rather than externally hasn't been easy. After being externally directed for so long, it's taken me 5 years to realize that running is something I genuinely want to do. This is just one thing, but there are many other aspects of my life where I'm still lost. 

This is why I would urge parents and teachers to stop controlling children's lives so much. For about 18 years we push them towards what we want out of them and then when they're set free we expect them to suddenly become strong willed. This just doesn't make sense.

What we need to do is teach them to be in touch with and follow their own compass, because that's where they will thrive.