Aug 30, 2016
The two hardest tests on the spiritual road are the patience to wait for the right moment and the courage not to be disappointed with what we encounter.”
― Paulo Coelho
Having made my way into the world in the 90s, when “following your dream” was the motto chanted out of every rooftop, I, too, with a large number of fellow millennial, was encouraged to follow suit. My dream most certainly was to grow up to be engineer, doctor or an IAS officer, or someone, who proudly holds an MBA. Pays to note that, compared to the generations that went before us, we were born rather well to do, we were born to a set of parents who were very hardworking and could provide us with all the support necessary to build ourselves a comfortable life.
We were lucky enough to witness the transition of technology, from flip phones to iPhones (though any phone essentially served the purpose). We were rewarded with the best electronic gadgets and precious gifts every time we managed to score good grades (though our parents continued to use the standard Nokia device). Pause to ponder a little more and you realize the generation born after us is, well, luckier.
Now, most of us were sent to good schools, with good teachers who helped us develop our personalities and confidence. We grew up to be individuals who were comfortable to speak unabashedly in public and voice out our opinions on the most controversial topics. And though we learnt everything needed to be able to taste success, I do firmly believe that we missed out on one very important virtue. Every school, college, parent and grandparent forgot to instill in us this one quality – patience.
Go ahead. Give it a thought. Take all the time you need, but you’ll agree with me when you realize the tiniest of our achievements never went un-rewarded. The smallest successes and we were made to feel extremely special. Whether in school or at home, at every step we were encouraged and rewarded the very moment we attained results. Now, there’s no doubt that in the mind of a little girl, it was good.
It helped me boost my morale. It made me think I was different from the others and of course I had a file full of certificates (half of them for just participation) to reaffirm my belief whenever I felt otherwise. But then you grow up… This beautiful bubble built around you starts to crumble, and you realize that every colleague of yours is as special as you are, making you nothing but ordinary. I have a number of friends, all with qualifications they wear proudly on their sleeves; but some find themselves stuck in a job hunt, whereas the others with jobs also find themselves stuck and some realize that the path they chose was nowhere near to where they want to be. But the one thing that makes itself painfully evident is each one of them is easily frustrated and disappointed when things don’t work out. Well, Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is your career. It does take a lot of hard work, dedication and determination. But most of all, it takes waiting. And although we’ve mastered the art of hard work, dedication and determination, the waiting wasn’t taught to us and well, we never learnt how to. When we don’t see results immediately, it soon turns into a cry for help. And it eventually pushes us to give up.
Not very long ago I found myself in a similar situation. Having completed my education, I was on the hunt for a job. Now mind you, it’s not easy sending out dozens of resumes every day and getting rejected every single time. I had the grades and I had the qualifications. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. I analyzed my profile to the tiniest detail. And trying to find the one thing that was wrong was like looking for one single needle among a stack of needles. With each passing day my frustration got the better of me. I started to think I wasn’t good enough. Although my parents assured me otherwise, I saw no results.
Eventually, I was hired. But it took me a good four months before life changed. Now 122 days doesn’t seem like a long time, but to me every passing second felt like a minute, every minute like an hour, every hour like a day and every day, a year. But it’s only when I look back, I feel all I had to do was give myself time and keep the faith. Lack of patience, as I now diagnosed it, plunged me into a sea of self-doubt. It’s scary to think that one more month of all that ceaseless waiting and I would have given up.
The one thing I take from all this is that success and results take time and all I needed was a little bit of patience. But I do realize the importance of the virtue now. Had I not spent those four months of my life in frustration, I could have used up all that free time indulging myself, doing things I love. Free time, which now after landing a job, I probably may never have again. But I know now that I found this job because I didn’t give up earlier. And even though it may not be the one of my dreams, the one that will take me to the pinnacles of success, I know that with a little more effort and of course, a lot more patience, I will get there someday.
I write this not because I think I am wiser now, but because just like me, so many people frustrate easily when things don’t work out, ruining their health and lives in the process. Levels of depression and anxiety are on the rise. In a world where achievements are praised, every one fails to celebrate the wait to the top. Ask any successful being and she or he will tell you that they kept trying through the failures and kept waiting for the right moment. Ask your parents themselves and find out how much they had to struggle and patiently strive through their rough patch, to now be able to afford a good life. Luckily for us we might probably not have that big a struggle, but nothing can waive off that waiting period.
So while my parents relish in the happiness of me having written another article and feel congratulations are in order, I know now it is just a small step. And I have to work hard and wait, wait through my most difficult phase, through my boring phase. Success is inevitable.