Time is our most precious asset and it seems that no matter which direction you look, there is a product or service geared to saving you time or helping you accomplish results faster. Patience is the virtue we exercise to take advantage of the time we have. While I would love perfect abs in six minutes or to become a millionaire in 90 days, it simply isn’t going to happen. So how do you balance time and effort and differentiate between patience and wasting time?
These are all questions that, despite not being asked often or talked about, can drastically change your perspective, and help you understand why there really is no substitute for time.
Think about the six minute abs example, as working out usually pertains to everyone reading this. The action takes 6 minutes, but the results won’t appear in only six minutes.
The idea is that the action itself is geared to save you time so you don’t spend one hour in the gym, when you can spend six minutes in front of your TV. While it may seem gimmicky at first, it really isn’t, as it is rather a trick played on your mind.
Since we are a society focused on instant gratification, we simply want to believe that the results can be obtained in just six minutes. The idea of the advertisement is to focus on how little time can yield big results and seems very convincing to people who are already limited on time and short on patience.
The reality of the situation, however, is that six minutes’ worth of ab exercise alone is not enough to get you in shape, but consistency in exercise balanced with cardio routines and a diet, may actually leave you looking like a television fitness model.
While patience is a virtue, waiting around doing nothing certainly isn’t the answer to finding success, in business or in life. The key to balancing time and functionality lies with the actions you take and the focus of your life being driven by your habits, rather than by the results.
The reason your actions and habits matter more is because they are directly in your control, but the results you seek are more or less a by-product of that. Dwelling on the results will not change them but tweaking your efforts, actions, and habits certainly will yield different results, particularly if you can be patient long enough to see your hard work pay off.
The balance of patience comes from your ability to perform a strong set of continuous actions in the right direction, which will yield results over time rather than after each action itself.
When chasing success, money, or entrepreneurship, the same elements apply, as you must be able to stay the course and focus on daily routines which, when combined, will yield a higher level of reward. Not to mention, effective time management is one of the necessary skills of a gentleman.
The element of patience comes into play when you are able have a clear understanding that what you perceive to be the length of consistency may not be accurate. In other words, if you believe that working hard for six months will yield a certain payout or result and are willing to only give it six month, then perhaps your understanding of how to leverage time needs to change.
You must understand that time is very precious and that it must take its course regardless of your personal belief or the goals you set up earlier on, which is why setting deadlines work but setting results-driven timelines don’t.
Instead, invest in timelines that are focused around efforts and habits, things that are fully in your control and in your ability to change. Here is a crisp and easy to understand example.
Here is how most people set a goal:
“I want to be a millionaire by 30.” — That is a goal that associates time with results, when neither variable is completely in your control.
On the other hand, a better and more grounded goal might be:
“I will form my first business by 25, and have at least 100 clients by 30.” — While both goals create an opportunity to be a millionaire by 30, this one enables you to measure time through your actionable efforts rather than by their results. Real men orient their lives around what they can do, rather than focusing on what they can’t.
Once you understand that, regardless of your expectation of how long something should take, your efforts should never be focused on time itself, but rather on the action you can control, without ever forgetting that there is no substitute for time and patience.