Apr 13, 2013

Easy Tiger! Every great thing takes time..

There was once when I spoke at an event, a young(er) woman came to me right after my talk ended and started to shoot some questions. Whenever people ask me questions, I'm always curious about the motive behind. So I asked her back what she's been up to and she said that she's now running her own business and indignant with her progress. I smiled a lot as somehow I felt like I was talking to myself. She then added that she's been facing some problems and can't (yet) find a way to solve them. I could clearly see that she's currently having a hard time in her business and personal life too. I hope I was wrong as I felt like she was thinking of giving up.

I asked her how long she has been running her business. Couple of months she said. Somehow my heart sank.


I am living in a generation when technology is making a huge stride in moving us forward and information can be required in the blink of an eye. The current weather report of city miles away from we live, what our friend who lives in other continent does, who likes what on Facebook, even what Richard Branson is up to in the last 24 hours (whether he's down in deep ocean or up in outer space), you name it! Whether we need it or not is another thing, my point is that all of the information is there. Accessible. In REAL TIME.

Unconsciously, we are shaped and used to getting things in instant. Highlighting just one, I (finally) realized how sometimes (if not quite often) I impatiently take the "liberty" of pushing for everyone in my team to take immediate act whenever we have a situation, sometimes before they realistically can. I thank my partner/best friend, Yasmin for pointing this out just recently. And I thank some (on behalf of all) of my colleagues for speaking up.. How I sometimes could drive them nuts. 

I guess some people are losing their patience. Some people.. Including myself.

The urge to get things quickly is like an irresistible itch on our back that we must get our hands on. We want immediate progress, we want result, we want answer and we want it NOW. I think it's good as it somewhat motivates us in a way - pushes us to be more effective and efficient, but it goes to the wrong direction when we start to make ourselves wrong for having problems and mistakes - taking them as failures that impede our progress. It gets even worse when we refuse to acknowledge that great result needs a learning process, and every learning process takes time which involves both problem and mistake.

I'm not saying that the discontentment of facing problems and/or making mistakes are sheer bad things. In fact, I think it's necessary for everyone to continuously seek and trust that there's always a room for improvement. And I believe discontentment is a good start. What then we need to be more careful with is how we interpret them. It's important to see problems as signs that we're growing, and mistakes as hints to get us back (closer) on track. They're not bad. They're rad.

Speaking of which, I will never forget the story of how a good friend of mine did his PhD interview. He was asked whether or not he's ready to be a researcher who will face failed attempts and other potential outcomes of failures at the next ones. He countered, and I quote, that "every bad result is a good result". He explained that if it's not telling him what works, it will tell him what doesn't. A killer answer that is truer than true. Not only because he is brilliant, with that kind of answer, as expected, he got accepted. My inspiration.

Another story is of the ingenious Thomas A. Edison when he was asked boldly whether he felt like a failure and should just give up at the time he had not found the electric bulb that would work. He put it into perspective and answered "I have not failed. I've just found 10.000 ways that won't work". I believe that is perseverance and patience that are talking and we all know (and tremendously benefit from) how the story ends beautifully.

The meaning we give towards the process we are through truly does matter. And I've learned that it is necessary to take our discontentment in a much more loving way, so instead of discouraging ourselves (and, in my case, driving my surroundings crazy), it will energizes us to become better.


I really wish I could always maintain that kind of perspective in every aspect of my life. I don't sometimes, yet I continue to try. And I do wish everyone (including the young woman) too. 

I concluded my encounter with her by reiterating "be patient, try harder and try again. Until!"  (I seriously felt like I was talking to myself). I hope she took it well and I wish her the very best. I really do.