Many admirable human traits, like kindness and a strong work ethic, are drilled into us from an early age. Parents, teachers and coaches make sure of it.
But when we enter the adult world, no one holds our hands in the character-building process. It’s completely on us. We determine who we want to be.
To become that ideal version of ourselves, we must identify the traits we’d like to embody and then create a plan to attack the challenge of learning new behaviors.
But anything worth doing is challenging.
For me personally, there’s two character traits I’m aggressively pursuing.
To practice them, I’ll have to rebel against everything the world has ever taught me.
In a matter of seconds, I can order food to my house or ship a present overnight to my doorstep.
I can post a photo and know within seconds whether people approve of it.
I can send a text message and receive a response instantly.
And if none of these things happen at the speed that we’d like to, we’re bothered.
Because we live in the most impatient era of human history.
And you and I are victims of it.
To practice patience, we have to actively fight against the instant gratification we’re now accustomed to.
Would I like them to? Absolutely! All authors, musicians, YouTubers and podcasters want their creations to be seen and heard by as many people as possible.
Unfortunately, most creators don’t see returns on their investments early on. And when they fail at becoming an overnight sensation, they quit, no longer doing that thing they supposedly love doing.
I could cut ties right now, put my tail between my legs and move on to another creative endeavor. And I’m sure only a small number of people would notice if I did so.
But this is the make-or-break point. I’m confident that if I push through the struggle, even if it lasts years, the tide will turn.
If we keep getting better, continue to push and make learning an everyday thing, we’ll eventually come out on the other side.
When it comes to accomplishing our dreams, we just need to be patient.
Because if we aren’t, we’ll give up before we get there.
In elementary school, whenever we entangled ourselves in spats with the other kids, we always pointed the finger elsewhere.
“He hit me first.”
“She made me do it.”
As we grow older, we retain that knack for blaming other people for our own missteps. It’s a phase we never grow out of.
Unless we actively work at it, of course.
Because our natural tendency is to think that we’re always right. If someone criticizes us, we go on the defensive, making excuses and justifications rather than asking ourselves if we actually are in the wrong.
I’m guilty of it.
No one is perfect. Mistakes are inevitable.
But if we fail to acknowledge our errors, we miss the amazing opportunity to learn from them.
It’s difficult to look someone in the eye and tell him/her that we messed up.
But if we learn to do it, we’ll earn so much more respect from our peers. And we’ll feel better about ourselves inside.
And isn’t that what we all want?
If you wish to listen to this in podcast form, check out this episode.