We live in a world that's driven by instant gratification. We share even the most intimate information via email, instant messaging, Snapchat and texting to get a quick message out. The declining profits in printed media over recent years shines light on the fact that as a society we prefer to garner our information from the Web, which we can access 24/7 rather than from printed media, which comes once per day (and in some locations, only a few times per week).
Our televisions host literally hundreds of stations and programs to choose from so we don't need to wait for our entertainment. We can "like" an article or a YouTube video and create fame for its publisher overnight. Revolutions can come about almost spontaneously from posts on Twitter. We have instant hot, microwave-prepared gourmet meals of every cuisine type to speed up our food preparation make it harder to accept having to make a home-cooked meal from scratch.
There is little left that requires slow, controlled, delayed gratification. Even speed dating has been popularized over recent years. With all of this rapidity and instantaneous gratification in our daily affairs, it's no wonder that new hires have difficulty waiting patiently for promotions, raises and advancement at their firms (or in their careers). The trouble with the expectation for fast results is that some things require patience, persistence and time to manifest.
The positive effects of patience and persistence can go a long way in helping a person achieve success in business. When a new hire arrives to his first job, it's obvious there will be a learning curve until he or she becomes comfortable in his or her new role and master the tasks expected from the job description. Too often young candidates have unrealistic expectations about how speedily things progress in one's career from salaries, promotions to implementing new ideas. This is a typical mentality of young people today in a generation that's been raised to see instant progress in most every area of their lives.
Successful entrepreneurs often note that they have many projects in the fire, some they hope will take off sooner and others that will require many years to cultivate before they're actualized and successful. A recent discussion with a highly successful executive and serial entrepreneur exposed this principle in a concise fashion. This executive expressed his respect and approval for one of his younger managers. However, he also shared that the biggest challenge for him as a mentor is to teach his young protégés that new projects take time to develop, execute properly and implement.
As a manager his main challenge is to help his junior staff overcome their insistence and their disappointment when things don't come to fruition quickly. He suggests to all of his junior managers that they always have one project that's likely to succeed in the near future, so they can maintain their motivation to pursue their other projects, which will require more time to cultivate and actualize. This strategy seems to help mitigate younger staff's anxiety about completing projects speedily.
As a society we benefit from recognizing that some things are worth waiting for: They require our patience, persistence and hard work to fully actualize. Great relationships, complex business ideas and change are typically not accomplished overnight. In fact, the waiting can have a positive effect on a person by increasing one's humility that we can't control everything. It also feels good to know that ones hard work paid off. Toiling in the right areas creates grit and gritty people often enjoy the satisfaction that they've earned the rewards from sweating over a project.
A person benefits from adopting the philosophy that the only thing we can be certain we can control is one's effort but the outcome isn't in our control at all. This may explain why success that's delayed brings deeper satisfaction than those things that come to us quickly.
Maybe that's why we admire people who have achieved long, happy marriages and overcome difficulties in life, and why we esteem businesses that have shown sustainability through difficult economic times. Those individuals and companies have patience and persist even when it doesn't appear that success is guaranteed. They teach everyone there is value in not expecting immediate results or instant happiness. Some things are worth holding on and waiting for. Discernment is knowing which ones are worth it.
Beth Kuhel is a contributor to the Personal Branding Blog. She is founder and president of Get Hired, LLC and the co-author of From Diploma to Dream Job: Five Overlooked Steps to a Successful Career. Beth's coaching assists students and career changers to successfully match their needs, interests, passions, skills and personal goals with the needs of a sustainable industry in a sustainable location. Beth is a C.E.I.P. (Certified Employment Interview Professional). She coaches individuals and groups at all stages of their career journey to maximize their potential for success. You can follow her on Twitter @BethKuhel.