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Developing patience by being prepared

Improving Systems and Habits

Scott Miker is the author of several books that describe how to use systems and habits to improve.  This free blog provides articles that to help understand the principles related to building systems.  

Developing patience by being prepared

Scott Miker

Patience is a virtue.  Patience is something that many of strive for but often seems confusing.  But patience doesn’t mean sitting around waiting.  It doesn’t mean being lazy or finding excuses for taking action.

Patience isn’t something that comes from inaction.  It actually comes from action, but specific action.  It comes from preparation.

I am a huge college football fan.  Growing up in Ohio I have been able to see some of the best examples of a football team and some of the worst.  The Ohio State Buckeyes are consistently at or near the top of the college football landscape.  The Cleveland Browns are consistently at or near the bottom of the pack for NFL teams.

It is really funny to hear comments from the coaching staff and administrators for each team.  There are distinct differences in focus.

For example, OSU won the national championship last year.  But they really didn’t think that was a probability.  They thought that this year would be good and maybe get a shot but that the next year was their year.  This led to a different mindset, which focused on building, growing and improving.  They were solely focused on preparing and working hard towards a goal. 

OSU Coach Urban Meyer even said prior to the first playoff game against Alabama that he wasn’t expecting to be as good as they were.  “We’re a young program, a team where if you would have told me this in August, I would have said not yet.  Maybe next year, but not this year because we’re just so young.” 

For the Browns, every year seems to be the year that things have to happen.  There is a sense of urgency that goes along with constant turnover at the head coach and GM roles.  Every two to three years the team has to rebuild and start over. 

The thing that always strikes me as odd is that during these summer months the teams are being built and trained.  Right now determines much of the future success.  But the media isn’t able to accurately talk about that preparation.  It isn’t public and even if the media could watch the practices they probably wouldn’t see the subtle aspects that point to true preparation. 

But the truth is that you reap what you sow.  What you plant now will grow.  That is both good and bad.  If you are focused and working hard it will pay off but if you are slacking off and avoiding the hard work necessary to succeed it will become reality. 

That is why you can’t avoid doing the hard work necessary to reach your goals.  Regardless of what you want to achieve, there has to be progress towards those goals.  Focus on the small improvements that you can make and systematize because that will give you the momentum to carry you forward.  It will give you the preparation necessary to know you are moving towards completion of the goal. 

When looking at football teams, you almost never see a team go from “rebuilding” phase to champion overnight.  What actually happens is years of hard work and progress towards a goal.  Yet disappointing teams are always focused on making one or two moves that they feel are sure to give them success. 

This is where true patience comes into play.  You are able to develop a patient mindset because you are doing the work necessary and can be confident that you will reach your destination.  You see yourself trending towards the goal and becoming whom you have to become in order to reach the goal that you set.  Only with true preparation are you able to cultivate patience.