Lessons in Patience

I’ve always lived in the present in one way: I lack patience. When I want something I want it NOW.

Take learning Spanish. I want to know how to speak it how to understand it. But I don’t want to have to take the time to learn it. It takes too much time to master a language.

That being said, when a Spanish person speaks very slowly and directly at me I can usually understand what they’re saying (thanks to knowing French). And I have a Learn Spanish book and CD from friends, but I haven’t studied it at all. That takes time, too much time.

But then I’m reminded of an advertisement for a piano company that I had cut out of a magazine and hung on my bulletin board when I was a teenager. It quoted a woman saying something like: "I decided not to learn how to play the piano because it takes ten years to play it well. That was ten years ago."

There are so many things we don’t do because they take too much time.

Like getting a novel published. Yes, I’m done the first draft of my novel, but that’s just the beginning. From start to published, it generally takes three to four years. And then most authors have on average four finished books before they get their first publishing contract. So I’m looking at five to ten years to becoming a published author.

That also takes too much time.

But writers don’t write because we want to get published. We write because we have to. Of course being published is great (especially as a way to earn a bit of money), but I would write even if I knew I’d never get published.

Like the way I’ve decided to move forward with my writing despite the long haul ahead of me, I’ll learn Spanish, knowing that it’s going to take me a long time before I can understand and speak it well.

It’s a lesson in patience.

Someday Lessons:

  • What have you put off doing because it will take too much time to learn to do it well?
  • If you love something, the associated time commitment is easy to take on.

4 thoughts on “Lessons in Patience

  1. Amy Mowbray says:

    This post really got me thinking. I’ve discovered, and have been told, that I want everything done yesterday. Honestly, I can’t think of anything major that I’ve put off doing because it took too long–such as learnng a new language or writing a book. But I have a few little things that I thought of. I haven’t done laundry in 2 weeks (5 of us) and it will take me 2 days to do it all, so I’ll most likely haul everything into the car and take it somewhere. I want to clean the grout in my kitchen floor and mudroom. I guess my issue is finding the time during my day to do these small things.

  2. Patience, in nea.
    In nea, patience.

    We repeat this OVER and OVER in TaeKwonDo because you can’t get good overnight.


  3. Lisa says:

    How true! You’ve been reading my thoughts lately. What I decided was that when my expectations are that it will be 10 years before I’ll be able to be accomplished, I’m far more likely to do the work because my expectations are in line with when I’ll see the real accomplishment.

    But, that’s always been my failing. Expecting to see results today when it takes much longer.

    So, a few days ago, I decided I need to learn Chinese and set the target for 10 years from now to be somewhat accomplished.

  4. Alex Fayle says:

    Amy: The things that haven’t gotten done don’t sound like actions that are particularly exciting, so I can totally understand why you haven’t made time for them. I’ve always had a big challenge doing things that are purely mundane (like laundry and grout-cleaning).

    Jacki: What does in nea mean?

    Lisa: Good luck with the Chinese – is the goal to speak it or also read and write it (which I’ve heard is very difficult to learn the character set)?

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