2023 November 7 Patience is progress

Nov 07, 2023

Hi, this is Jim Cranston from 7EveryMinute and 7EveryMinute.com, the podcast and website about reimagining your life. Thanks for joining me tonight to talk about a little patience in order to make your way through life. So let's get started.  If you like what you hear today, please leave a like, tell your friends, and send me a message.


Tonight, we're going to talk about being patient - not in the short term sense, although that's important too, but as the progress towards bigger goals. As I've mentioned before, I work with the Spanish community at church, and I'm half of the bilingual rosary leaders. Obviously, I do the English side. We've been holding this for a number of months now, since February 27 this year. 


On some days the crowd is pretty small, which is always a little bit disappointing. But while it's always tempting to give up, we persisted and finally little steps are starting to happen. However, an eight month drought can be a bit wearing unless you focus on the goal and not the present.


Also, if you work with a team, even a team of two or three people, that helps a lot to keep the other person motivated during those kind of slow and building times. Let's take a look at my simple little goal of getting a small gathering together and reframe it as a life goal.


Even though I described it as a bilingual rosary (which for non Catholics, is like a small prayer group mostly using predefined prayers), this simple task actually had many components. The first lesson to remember is that even a simple sounding task is likely more involved than it appears. So give yourself some grace and patience, and realize that even though it may sound like something really simple, it'll probably take a couple steps to get there. 


In this particular case, the first step was getting a bilingual prayer book with all the prayers we wanted with approved and consistent translations. Because this was also a teaching vehicle, each sentence had a line up, both in English and Spanish, all the way down so people could look at the two of them side by side and learn the words in both languages. Since a booklet like that didn't exist, that meant making our own from scratch, which meant getting a desktop publishing program. We decided to use Affinity Publisher. I used them a long time ago. There's much more after that, including locating booklets and explaining each set of prayers. Happily, we were able to buy those. 


But even the first piece took some work to get it going. The point is, once you start working towards a goal, it may suddenly seem to grow right before your eyes and get impossibly big. That's a good thing because it means that you've picked a worthwhile goal and not a goal that's trivial to attain.


This is where writing things down really starts to help. Your little goals can turn into this impossible goal monster, and at first, you tend to feel overwhelmed. We already know how to handle that. When you make a list of all those little goals and realize they all lead to the larger goal, you know that by stepping through those little goals, and tracking and celebrating each one, that you're really making progress towards the big goal.


This is where patience comes in. Part of your brain will be saying that it's an impossible task. There's just so much to do. How can you learn all these different steps? How do you quiet that voice? It's trying to keep you from failing, so you review all your little successes and remember that each one has moved you closer to your bigger goal. When your brain tries to complain like that, you can look at all the little steps of progress and you can realize how much you've already gotten done. You focus on what you've gotten done instead of what is still to come. 


In my little real world example, there were a few days of fooling around with the software and getting it to print correctly. It's not an artistic masterpiece of publishing by any means, but it works for now for exactly what we are trying to do. It's better than most of the published pamphlets and things that I was able to research on the market.  We were able to make it work out exactly as we wanted, and to meet our needs. Yes, that took a little extra effort, and we documented the steps that we did. Now suddenly, it actually served as a launchpad for a number of other projects.


That's the other good reason for writing things down. Later, when we did other little booklets, I had the the desktop publishing program all set up and ready to go. It's just a matter of changing the information in it, and all the formatting is already done. 


It went pretty quickly, but it didn't happen all at once. As a matter of fact, I made additional edits to it just yesterday as I was working on it before my last printing. We're now up to version 3.1, which is the next lesson. Iterate to get to your goal. We've spoken about envisioning the final goal and working backward, which I did.


But still, little things come up. However, by envisioning the final product first, I was sure that it was possible, and I knew what I wanted to do. The little problems stayed little, and they were readily overcome. I bring this up because often when we talk, and it's somewhat in the abstract. How do you make a lifelong goal? It's really difficult to walk through that.


But I wanted to give you a real world example of what was actually a reasonably big goal. There were a number of significant steps to actually pull it all together. The fundamental goal was just to bring the two communities in my church a little bit more together and get a little more mixing going on. But that required a new approach. The bilingual rosary, which is the result of that, entailed a number of technical issues to be overcome. If it wasn't working from a point of patience in my progress and keeping a long term view and celebrating the little wins, it would have been very easy to have become discouraged and perhaps given up.


Think about all the things that you do in your life every day, and how many times you get stressed out about whether you make enough progress. It may be worth taking a step back and seeing it from the perspective of all that you've gotten done instead of all that's left to do. This is more than a glass-half-full thinking. It's recognizing that we're built to focus on problems because that's what keeps us safe, and that's a good and useful skill. But there's the other side of our existence, and we often tend to forget and ignore that piece, and that's the part that helps us advance.


There's always some risk to advance. It's true - no risk, no reward. But if you're barely surviving on the food in your valley, some progressive thinkers may try and see what's in the next valley. There's clearly risk to go searching, but there's also the chance to improve your situation.


This is just as true today as it was thousands of years ago. By approaching your progress with patience and remembering to celebrate the wins, you're more likely to envision and then attain more significant goals. When you run into problems, you'll have the mindset that solving a large problem will likely result in a large amount of progress. It might take a little longer than hoped, but you'll know that it's actually attainable. You may have slowed down a little bit, but you aren't derailed and demotivated, because everything is still consistent with your overall goal. 


We now live in a world of near-instant gratification. Not surprisingly, that instant gratification often results in near-instant dissatisfaction because the result took no effort, so isn't really valued.


We talked about this a few weeks ago. By living a patient life with longer term outlooks, you can have much larger and more significant and satisfying goals. That can literally change the world, and certainly change your own life. When you're tempted to give up on a goal, I would encourage you to step back, take a little break, then write down every little thing you did that's already done, that you already managed to do, and celebrate every little win.


Taken together, they're probably not little at all. They probably move you quite a bit towards your goal. Now, you'll be able to reenvision your big goal and realize that you've already finished many of the important foundational steps. Success breeds success. That alone will help reinvigorate you and keep you moving towards that big goal.


Especially when you get up and you're tired for the day, or you're just out of sorts. If you step back a little bit and realize that yesterday you thought the same, and you did get that done, you'll get your momentum back. The impatient are quickly dissatisfied. while the patient persist and accomplish almost anything. 


That's it for tonight. Remember that anything worthwhile is likely to seem to grow larger as you start to work on it, which just means it's a worthwhile goal and it'll probably have a larger positive impact.


When you're tempted to get frustrated with your progress, be patient with yourself. Write down all that you did, all those little steps that you've managed to get accomplished. Celebrate the wins and realize you're further along the path of towards realizing that big goal than you really thought.


Your homework (optional of course) is to think if there are any goals, old or new, that you started working on and then found them overwhelming. If so, see if any of them can be broken down into smaller steps. Extra points if you decide to work on one of those little, smaller steps and can experience the excitement of making progress again towards an important goal. Be patient with your progress. Progress in the little steps is still progress. That's it for the evening. Thanks so much. 


Please remember the war in Ukraine. UKR7.com is a page of links where you can donate to Ukraine, or you can find the  World Central Kitchen at WCK.org.


It's really important to remember that one of the best ways to care for yourself is to care for others. It moves the focus of your thought from inside yourself to out into the world and gives you a different perspective. It not only helps make you feel better, but it also gives you a reason to go out and do more in the world. Any organizations that you normally work with with be grateful for your help. Sometimes just simply saying hi to somebody as you're walking down the street can change their day and make it a little better.


As always, thank you for stopping by. If you found something interesting or useful, please pass it along and please hit that like button. If not, please drop me a comment as to what you'd like to hear. Have a great week. Remember to live the life that you dreamed of, because that's the path to true contentment. Love and encouragement to everyone and see you next week on 7EveryMinute and 7EveryMinute.com. Thank you. 


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