Watching a tree grow will likely drive you crazy. It’s a boring process if you stand there, impatiently tapping your foot, waiting for it to do something. But if you step away and come back later, you’ll be surprised to see something beautiful emerge.
The fact is the plant is doing something: it’s growing. Just not as quickly as you might like. Our culture has conditioned us to expect instant results and overnight success; this impatience runs so rampant that we dress it up in terms like “efficiency” and “productivity.”
But really what’s happening is we are conditioning ourselves to get what we want now, all the time. This mindset robs us of the lessons that waiting can teach us, causing us to miss out on the slow but important stuff of life.
Most growth happens this way: slowly, over time. You don’t see it happening—in fact, sometimes the circumstances feel more like inconveniences than opportunities—but then one day you wake up, amazed at how far you’ve come. When it comes to waiting, we have a choice.
We can try to bypass the delays to get immediate gratification. Or we can embrace the “long game” of life and invest those days, months, and years in the slow, but intentional growth that leads to lasting change.