The Power of Patience

My twitter stream has been full of powerful advice lately. It’s in fact amazing how many smart and hard-working people there are on Twitter, let alone the world. It’s almost as if the competition to be seen and heard, which I guess is what we all want in some way or other, is overwhelming. But when you should rejoice in knowing that there are many brilliant people out there, that the planet is full of them, instead you feel deflated. A voice in your head goes: “Why should anyone listen to me? What do I have to offer?”

The world gets smaller and smaller and more connected, but sometimes that doesn’t make you feel bigger – it makes you realize the massive size of everything – the breathtaking number of people struggling and hustling to be the next big thing, the next big author, social media expert, inspiration, musician, or let’s use an even bigger word: phenomenon. The mindset is: you haven’t heard of me, but you will. It’s the voice of the WANT.

I’m fascinated by this constant WANTING and it’s something I think is a factor in all of my books in one way or the other. Probably because I struggle with this, how much I can want and how hard I should work for it and how much I should relax, enjoy life and take it easy. When you work hard for something you want gratification and you tend to want it rather quickly.


The key, writer Jeff Goins say, is to embrace the wait and really try to enjoy and savour the moments “in between”. He’s written a book about it (The In-Between: Embracing the Tension Between the Now and the Next Big Thing) that seems very interesting and it’s definitely on my to-read-list.

It’s all about patience though, isn’t it? As soon as you’re bored these days you go on your mobile and hope to see a funny comment on Facebook, someone liking your latest Instagram or Pinterest pic, or an interesting link on Twitter. And if social media is not your thing, there are countless apps and games to keep you entertained and “un-bored”.

I’m not sure if this is what Goins talks about in The In-Between, but maybe it’s good to be bored sometimes? Maybe it’s good to just wait and think and be? Maybe it’s good to allow things to take time?

I thought about this a lot after reading this excellent post called Write Less, Say More on blogging. When you write a post it’s easy to feel the need to click publish as soon as you’re ready (or think you’re ready). The big, inviting publish button whispers: “Click me!” because you know you just can’t wait to get likes, shares and other forms of instant gratification. But if you hold the power of patience, you could let your writing rest and breathe and if you did that, the next day you’d probably see things slightly differently. You’d rethink and rewrite and in so doing improve the post and maybe also learn something extra in the process. This could end up transforming it into something that really gives you gratification. It could maybe even make it into something that really moves someone, that really lasts.

And if no-one ever reads or sees it, maybe that’s okay too? Maybe you wrote that post just for you?

Rambling on patience, blogs, meaning of life

I can’t wait to finish this post so I can get on to the next item on my to-do list.

The thing which frustrates me most about the hyper-modern, super-groovy, social-media and Internet-crazed society we live in today is the lack of patience. Things are not allowed to take time. People don’t stop to think. Everything has to happen NOW.

You can’t even wait for food anymore, that’s why we have fast foods, microwave dinners and instant coffee. Why go through the trouble to make anything when you can get it now, no extra effort involved? And there’s no point in reading a book that takes two weeks when there’s a movie which tells the whole story in 95 minutes, right?

Is this attitude a result of the speed of life today? Not really? It’s not that we die faster, instead, through all kinds of pills, botox and life support tools, we live longer and look better while doing so (win-win!?). Some research points to that recent generations will be 150 years or older. All this time and we still need to stress through life like overcharged Duracell bunnies? Makes no sense to me.

The meaning of life these days usually mean two things, make shitloads of money and walk around and wave them in people’s faces, or get famous at whatever cost – two things that will take loads of effort, stress and possibly alienating some of the things you really like to do. It’s all a search for attention and “Look at me! I’m me! And there’s only one of ME!”

It’s not like I don’t do or think like that. I like to write books, which is both fun and relaxing (except for the editing part which is hell) and a clear shout for people to understand me or like my mind. Every book could say: here’s an invitation to like my mind on the cover. Sometimes people do, sometimes they don’t. In one way I believe the Internet makes us overly critical and analytical of each other. Just look at any popular online forum and you will find more hate than in a brigade of Nazis. But then there’s also the other side, the global, mind-blowing we-reach-out-to-each-other part which is pretty damn cool.

Blogs are cool. Or are they’re just there to relieve ourselves of the pressure of editing our thoughts? I call this post “Rambling…” because I think a lot of blogs, mine included, are just that, a rather raw form of self-expression. I will read this post through once, fix some minor stuff and then click publish. Because I’m stressed. Because I have other things to do than blog. Because I need to prioritise.  If this was a short story, it would take days or even weeks of work, but since it’s basically just rambling and I owe you, dear reader, pretty much nothing, it will be online pretty much as scribbled.

And when the post is out, when it’s online, it goes out on Twitter, Facebook and any other kind of social media and with a little luck, people enjoy the rambling and click “Like” or “Retweet” or even write a comment. Our egos then make a small somersault, happy to get the recognition and find people who are like-minded and like our minds.

We are attention whores. But is it so bad? Isn’t the online world pushing us closer to each other? Making it easier for us to write e-books (thanks Amazon, Smashwords, Apple iBookstore, Nook, Kobo, etc) or publish our music through Youtube, Soundcloud or Myspace (isn’t it dead yet?) or our photos through Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. We can be heard and seen without agents, without a stroke of luck, without having lots of zeroes on our bank statements.

This is the groovy part of the Internet.

Then there’s the part that stresses me out with its flow of Facebook updates, Twitter streams and instant news updates.

Oh shit, look at the clock.

I have to hit publish now.