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10 Reasons Waiting is Good for You

10 Reasons Waiting is Good for You

We live in a society based on instant gratification. Hungry? A microwave will have you eating in minutes. Getting your dream car is a simple matter of signing up for debt. And months of pining for a perfumed reply from your true love is replaced by a simple click on send/receive. Life has become convenient, but are we better off for it? Here are 10 things we miss out on by not be willing to wait.

1. Priorities become clear

More than ever, we find ourselves bombarded with opportunities and possibilities. It’s easy to get sucked into too many activities that have nothing to do with your purpose and drain your energy, time and resources. Waiting is the perfect vaccine for those things that have no place in your life. The ‘meant-to-be’s’ have built-in staying power that distractions don’t. Given time, temporary things will drop out of your life effortlessly, leaving you free to focus on that which is truly you. Time has a beautiful way of sifting the important from the fluff.

2. Develop perseverance

With ordinary talent and extraordinary perseverance, all things are attainable -Thomas Foxwell Buxton

Perseverance is defined as “persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success”. Did you catch the sneaky little keyword there? A swimmer builds muscles by putting in hours in the water, a body builder pushes ever-increasing weights and us…we stick at what we want to do. Then we get up tomorrow and do it again. We keep on until we reach our goals. Persevering builds our emotional, physical and spiritual muscles so when we crack the goal we’ve been aiming at, we are equipped for the demands of the new season. We’ve been trained by the process of persevering. That kind of toughening up cannot happen in a day, or by popping a pill. It takes time.

3. Productive habits

Whatever you are waiting for–whether it be a spouse, a book deal, or a promotion–your waiting time need not be wasted time. Start making the changes now. Rearrange your schedule to accommodate what you are working towards. Don’t be scared to shift priorities, move furniture, set your alarm an hour earlier each morning. Do whatever you feel would help position yourself for the breakthrough you are waiting for.

4. Understanding yourself

There are high and low points in all our lives, yet these are not what define us. The best place to find out who we really are, is in the sticky bits in between the two. It’s in the slog of daily living that we discover our greatest strengths and weaknesses. Embrace normal life; don’t fight it. Knowing who you are while you’re up to your elbows in soap suds and floating leftovers will keep you grounded when success comes.

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5. Rest & regroup

Allow yourself downtime. Sleep until you’re finished; take walks in the fresh air. Ride a bicycle and read a book. Recharge your soul with things that feed you. Learn a new recipe, plant a tree. Break out of the mold that life has you trapped in. Waiting creates space in your life, precious time to get in touch with what is going on inside you. It creates space to come to grips with what makes your heart beat faster–what is important to you. Don’t waste it by filling it with rushing or busyness.

6. Patience

Did you grow up wearing hand-knitted sweaters made with love by your granny? It’s becoming more rare by the generation. Knitting takes patience, and there are few things left in our highly efficient society that are geared towards growing patience in us. Waiting is one of them. Like any classroom full of scholars, there are some who resist learning and others who embrace it. If life has you in a headlock and you know you’re going to be there for some time, use your energy wisely–don’t fight it; embrace it.

7. Resourcefulness

The process of waiting is often linked to lacking something. Think about it. If you’re waiting to meet your life partner, you are missing having a significant other. An empty fridge is a sure sign of someone waiting for payday, and someone hankering after a promotion does so because they are hungry for a challenge, a boost in self-esteem, or a bigger paycheck. Waiting forces us to work with what we have in hand. This sounds terrifying, but once you shift your mind, it becomes liberating. Start to see things around, and inside you, with different eyes. It’s an adventure to make do with what you have, and not rush out to buy something new at the first twinge of lack. Try it! You’ll surprise yourself with your resourcefulness.

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8. Tolerance and empathy

Getting exactly what you want, when you want it, is not always a good thing. Ask any mom. Continual immediate gratification over a long period of time can sow seeds of entitlement and pride. When these mindsets are allowed to take root and grow, the end result is not pretty. On the other hand, waiting is a great humbler. A humble person is aware of the struggles of others and can empathize with their troubles. In short, waiting can make you a better person.

9. Capacity

Waiting will lead you through situations you don’t believe you can cope with. You will come out the other side stronger, more capable and with a shot of Vitamin C to your self-confidence. We are not built to be rescued at the first sign of discomfort. How would we have learned to walk if those caring for us had been too worried to put such strain on our leg muscles? Waiting is hard. It is uncomfortable, inconvenient, and makes us face things about ourselves that we’d rather avoid. But if we let it, it stretches us beyond what we think our limits are, and there we discover there was a whole lot more to us than we ever knew.

10. Gratitude

Once you bend your head around the fact that waiting is your friend, and not your enemy, some important things will shift in your head. Instead of being frustrated by delays, you can be grateful for them, make the most of each one and soar through your time of waiting. On the other side of it, you will see how much has been grown in your character even though it felt like nothing was happening at the time. Now that is something to be grateful for.

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Featured photo credit: beautiful young girl resting in a cafe via shutterstock.com

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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