Sometimes I take the bus. Oh sure, I have a fully functioning car. But if I’m headed downtown and don’t feel like dealing with traffic or parking, I take the bus. I actually like traveling by bus. The people I see on the bus are always interesting, and the bus takes a different route than I do when I drive, so I get to see the city from a different angle. The bus gives me lots of ideas.

But mostly it forces me to be more patient. Waiting at the bus stop. Waiting for the bus to get me where I want to go, with all the stops in between. Walking from the bus stop to my destination. I move at a much different speed when traveling by bus, as opposed to traveling by car. To me, the bus is the ultimate exercise in patience.

I was standing at the bus stop yesterday and a young mother and her little 2 year old girl were there too. The little girl asked her Mom when the bus would come. Her Mom said, “It’s coming soon, we just have to wait a bit, and be patient”. The little girl said, “What’s patient?”. The Mom replied, “It’s when we have to wait for a while, but we don’t mind.”

Patience is when we have to wait for a while, but we don’t mind.

It’s too bad that we don’t have more patience when it comes to achieving our goals. We want to have it all, right now. We want our business that we just started, to start being profitable immediately. We want our blog to be an overnight success, so we can start monetizing like the big boys and girls are.

But the world doesn’t work like that. There’s a real disconnect between how fast everything moves these days and how much time it actually takes to make the most of it. We think that because it’s so easy and fast to get up and running now, and because information flies around at the speed of light, that our success with it must happen just as fast. We see the folks with popular blogs and a big following succeeding as businesspeople, teachers, and professional speakers. And because we have only seen them at the top of their game, we assume their ascent happened in the blink of an eye.

We become impatient, because we are still at the place we are at, and we’re not where we want to be. We see what’s possible, and we work and work and work, and we still aren’t quite there yet. Our impatience is frustrating. It’s overwhelming. And sometimes it makes us want to just give up.

Every journey you take, whether it’s the journey of finding the perfect job, landing a big client, or finding true love, involves waiting. Overnight successes are one in a million, yet so often we bank on going from unknown to superstar in one fell swoop, because we perceive that’s how others have done it. When we do achieve a success or two, it’s tempting to rest on our laurels, because we figure that the waiting is now over – we’ve made it. But the waiting is not over, and it never is – and that is the point.

Practicing patience is the most important thing you can do when you’re working towards your goals. Because as much as hard, hard work is necessary to move you closer to your goals, waiting and being patient is part of the game too.

The secret is to learn not to mind.

[photo by B Tal]