Let us think about some of the most successful individuals in history. What did these “movers and shakers” all have in common? Some traits such as motivation, perseverance and an unfailing faith in themselves are certainly all pertinent. However, a lesser-known faculty that many also possessed was a sense of impatience in regards to where they wanted to be. Does this sound a bit odd? It may indeed, for we will normally associate impatience alongside other negative attributes such as ego, a lack of foresight and an immature approach to the world around us. To appreciate why impatience may very well be the key to success, let us first define this term in reference to motivation and momentum.
Impatience: Fuel to the Fire
John D. Rockefeller of Standard Oil fame was never quite happy with the fortune he amassed; he always wanted more. Steel magnate Andrew Carnegie, on the other hand, was impatient to give as much money as he could to charity. Theodore Roosevelt was so impatient to become successful that he overcame numerous childhood ailments, learned to speak no less than five languages and eventually became one of the most influential presidents in American (and world) history. So, we see here that this type of impatience has little to do with stagnant frustration. On the contrary, their personal success is directly attributed to a hunger that was insatiable throughout their lives. Still, impatience is only half of the equation.
An Instinctual Balance
There are many of us who are impatient for bigger and better things. Perhaps we want to progress in our current job, move to a different country or to simply feel more valued in what we do. So, why is it that a sizable portion of us are never able to harness this impatience like other successful personalities have? The answer to this question is that impatience matters little without a massive amount of self confidence. As opposed to simply wanting a change, we must believe that we can enact a change. Only through such confidence will we be able to find the momentum to turn our impatience into physical movement forward. The expression “I think I can” should be replaced with the firm statement “I know I can”.
Confusing Comfort and Stagnation
Those who are impatient for success realise that there is a profound difference between comfort and becoming “stuck” in a certain mindset or position in life. Indeed, this may be one of the fundamental traits that define single-minded success from mediocrity. If we think about this further, such a concept actually makes a great deal of sense. Many individuals around the world are content with their lives. They enjoy (or have learned to enjoy) their job, they are happy with their house and they genuinely feel fulfilled on a daily basis. However, there are others who would look at this situation and feel that they have become stagnant. In other words, they are impatient to see what may be just around the next corner.
Naturally, the feeling of having become trapped will lead one to think outside of the proverbial box. In turn, this can allow great things to happen. Would electricity ever have been invented if we had not grown impatient with gas flames? Would Henry Ford have thought to invent the concept of the modern assembly line if he had not been impatient regarding the amount of vehicles that he could produce in a month? These are two examples of the fact that certain individuals will naturally feel the need to go above and beyond what is considered the status quo.
Personal Success 101: Stay Hungry!
After having viewed impatience in this context, it is clear that such a feeling plays a very important role in our success. Indeed, if we were always happy with our present position, progress would never even take place. In fact, it could even be argued that the entire reason that modern man has arisen is due to a constant species-wide impatience for bigger and better things.
Now, we must translate this back to the individual. We must constantly evaluate and re-valuate our current position. Are we truly where we want to be? Are we still hungry for more? If so, this impatience needs to be embraced and nurtured. Finally, it is essential to realise that impatience does not have to equate to unhappiness. On the contrary, successful individuals are happy due to the fact that their impatience has caused them to push the envelope of their very existence. To summarise, a quote by Theodore Roosevelt in 1898 will serve to illustrate the power of impatience:
“Far better is it to dare mighty things than to take with those poor, timid spirits who know neither victory nor defeat.”