Have you ever worked towards something, thinking that nothing is happening, your goal is no closer, or your circumstances are no different, despite the hard yards you are putting in?
Let me tell you, changes ARE happening.
The other week, I took my kids to get their hair cut. On the way, my son spoke up.
“You know what’s weird?” he asked.
“Well, your hair is growing all the time, but you can’t really see it growing when you look at it. It’s only when you look at it after some time has gone by that you notice it’s different. That it needs cutting.”
Often we get impatient and want to see results now.
Society has conditioned us to expect things straight away. A typical example is the weight-loss industry. How many ‘quick-fixes’ are doing the rounds? (Countless) How many of them work? (None — at least not for the long-term) How many people still buy into them? (Millions).
Why? Because people want an instant result. Even though their head may tell them it won’t work, in their heart they are desperate for it to. They can’t bear the thought of weight-loss taking time.
Similarly, how many people spend money on the lottery every week? (I’m not sure, but I’d guess the number is in the thousands). Why? Because they want to ‘get rich quick’.
The same thing with tax-returns. Some accounting firms now offer ‘instant tax returns’ — some even promising cash within the hour! Why? Because as a society we have forgotten the art of being patient.
Sometimes we can get so caught up with ‘seeing immediate results’, that we miss the other things that may be happening around us.
My beautiful boy, (like millions of other kids) is a living testament that hundreds or even thousands of changes are happening all the time.
As he is about to transition from primary school to high school, I can’t help but think back to when he was a baby. I remember the day he came home from hospital — so tiny and helpless. His legs and arms were long and thin, reminding me of a skinned rabbit. His hands so tiny in mine.
Day after day I would care for him, talk to him, read to him, walk with him, and it seemed as if he gave nothing in return. It seemed like all he did was eat, sleep (although he didn’t do much of that!) and require plenty of nappy changes. But bit by bit, little changes were happening. His hair grew, his eyelashes grew and he needed the next size in clothes. After a few months he rolled over. A few months later he sat up, began to talk and once he was walking our little baby had gone and in his place was a toddler.
Like many parents, I would catch myself thinking that I couldn’t wait for a certain stage to be over — “I can’t wait until he sleeps through the night”. “Won’t it be great when he is out of nappies?” “Imagine when he can get in the car by himself and do up his own seat belt.”
Some of the stages were difficult and some were delightful. However, all of them were necessary in his growth as a boy.
Fast forward almost 12 years and he is now only a centimetre or two off my height. Over the past 12 years, countless changes have occurred. Some of them I noticed along the way yet others have snuck up on me.
These changes may be almost 12 years in the making, but in some ways, they have all happened too quickly. When I take a step back, it’s hard to believe the young man in front of me was the same little bundle I brought home from hospital.
Things in our lives are changing all the time. Yet when we look for changes we never seem to see them. Sometimes all we can see is the difficult stage and we find ourselves wishing for the next stage — “I can’t wait until my business is profitable.” “Won’t it be great when we own our own house?” “I wish I was a size 10 NOW!”
But the difficult stage is necessary, just as the delightful stage is necessary. In every stage there are lessons to learn, foundations to build, and changes to consolidate. Even though we may not be seeing many changes (or the changes we want to see), they are happening regardless.
If you are impatiently waiting for something to change in your life, then keep waiting. But don’t forget to enjoy the journey you are on. Don’t forget to look at everything else that is happening in your life. Everything that is good and even the stuff that’s not so good.
If all you ever do is focus on what is NOT happening, you’ll go through your life miserable and frustrated.
So take a step back and look around you. Take it all in. And when you glance back at the thing you are hoping will change, I’m sure you’ll find that it has.
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