One thing I’ve learned from years of working in publishing is that this business can severely test your patience. Writing a great book and getting it published can be a long, slow process — it’s challenging even for people with unusually large reserves of patience; but there is a certain contingent of people for whom patience is a constant struggle, both in their pursuit of publishing and in life in general. For these people, the publishing journey can be excruciatingly painful. These are often the folks who choose self-publishing, less out of a careful consideration of the costs/benefits, and more out of sheer unwillingness to wait any longer.
If you’re one of those who struggles with impatience, and you desire to improve in this area, this post is for you. Let’s look at some reasons people are often impatient; what’s harmful about being impatient; and what you might do to develop more patience.
What are some reasons you might you be impatient?
• You want something very badly and find it difficult to wait for it to happen.
• You have high standards that can translate into unrealistic expectations.
• You are highly intelligent or an above average writer (corroborated by outside sources) leading you to believe you shouldn’t have to wait for others to recognize your superiority.
• You’re not good at delayed gratification.
• You have a certain amount of arrogance.
• You don’t take the time to understand other people’s processes, i.e. why some things may take longer than you like.
But why is impatience a problem? Can’t it help me be more successful?
• Impatience makes you a poor listener. Most people who are impatient are not good at receiving feedback. Therefore, your opportunities for learning, growing and becoming a better writer, or better at anything, are reduced.
• Impatience keeps you from taking in as much information as you could, even when it’s readily available. You may tend to skip over information that could help you, in your haste to get to “results.”
• Impatience born of arrogance makes you devalue others’ opinions, lessening your ability to learn from them.
• Impatience can make you annoy others by your constant checking in. Are we there yet? Is it done yet?
What are some strategies for reducing your inclination to act out of impatience?
• Recognize that impatience can alienate you from others and in the long run, usually has a negative impact on relationships and career.
• Ask a few trusted friends to let you know when you’re behaving in a way that signals impatience; pay attention to what triggered the impatience and work toward acceptance of those situations.
• Create some mental strategies to calm yourself in situations where your impatience is likely to surface.
• Work on understanding other people’s perspectives and situations, accepting that they might be different from yours.
• Consciously seek out others’ opinions and feedback; work hard at listening intently and understanding their position, whether or not you agree.
• Seek out information and opportunities to learn and grow; give yourself the time you need to develop new competencies, rather than jumping ahead in search of a quick result.