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Become more patient in order to improve

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.  

Become more patient in order to improve

Scott Miker

We all want our problems to be fixed immediately.  We want to instantly solve all our work or business problems, all our team problems, and all our habit problems. 

The impatience that most of us have is normal.  But this normal impatience is the reason so many of us don’t improve. 

Impatience has several aspects that hurt progress and improvement.  These aspects derail our efforts and send us away from improvement and growth.

First, being impatient tends to lead to an all-or-nothing mindset.  Some interpret this as being a perfectionist or just procrastinating but the attitude that I have seen is different.  Because they want it now, and aren’t willing to devote the time and energy to solving the problem correctly.

But because the all-or-nothing mindset means that anything less than an instant, perfect solution means failure, we really build an impossible goal. 

When I work with a business or individual and this mindset is present, the solution is usually to work on developing a certain type of patience.  It isn’t patience as in sitting around waiting.  It is patience to know that the path you are on will take you towards the solutions in order to improve.  It becomes a confident patience. 

The second aspect of impatience that hurts improvement is that it often convinces us to go after shortcuts.  We want to find a shortcut to avoid the long, hard work associated with fixing the problem correctly. 

The last aspect of impatience that hurts improvement is that it takes us away from looking at systems and habits to improve.  Because changing habits takes a long time, if we are impatient we don’t even approach systems and habits when we want to improve. 

But focusing on changing systems and habits can actually be much more effective than any quick fix approach.  The systems and habits in our lives are very powerful and through them we automate most of our daily lives.  It is this automation that makes them difficult to change.  But it also means that if you focus here, once you do see improvement, it is much more likely to be lasting improvement. 

So the key is to get around being impatient by focusing on progress.  This satisfies the need to have it now by showing that things are improving and that you are on the right track.  It allows us to use the systems and habits approach to improvement.  It starts to help us build confidence that we are on the right track and will reach our goal or solve the problem. 

Focusing on progress is the key to gaining more patience.  Stop searching for instant solutions and instead look for ways to make (and measure) progress.  If there is a problem area at work, a goal to improve your personal life, or anything else that means change and improvement, start to improve the systems and habits around that area and look for progress instead of instant perfection.  This will help develop the necessary patience associated with improvement.