How to NOT Quit Before the Miracle

Photo by Josh Boot

Photo by Josh Boot

If I've learned anything in recent years, it's been the absolute importance of patience. So often, in my own life I've quit and given up, only to have to start all over again. Had I hung in there, certain things might have turned out differently.

I was born with a curious, restless soul. I love movement and adventure. I enjoy seeing what's around the next corner or inside the unopened door. I wasn't born with much patience or tenacity. if something doesn't show up right away or work out, I'm ready to move on, often without thinking of the consequences. One might see this as impulsive, but I see it as heavily entwined with my passion for stories and writing.

With that said, I've discovered rather late in life, in the midst of moving around, that there is great merit in stillness, calm, poise, trust, faith, surrender and PATIENCE.

Circumstances have a strange way of conspiring in our favor when we demonstrate our faith and trust.

While this is a lesson I'm still learning, I would like to share some wisdom gained from the school of hard knocks which may offer some solace to those who are feeling impatient. Here's my take on NOT quitting and cultivating patience:

  1. Don't compare yourself with others. This can stop you cold and make you want to pack it in. There is room for all of us, and each of us has something unique to contribute. When involved in a major undertaking or project, it's best to keep your eyes on what's right in front of you. Other people’s success and accomplishments may make you feel that you are falling behind or that what you're doing is not good enough. How boring it would be if we were all the same! Comparing is a confidence killer and a HUGE time waster.

  2. Stay out of the past and the future. By keeping your feet in the day and doing the next right thing, you can stay out of the dizzying dance of distraction. Stay present. Stay grounded. Be here. This moment is where everything happens and there is nothing you can do to fix or change the past or the future. You can really only succeed by showing up in the present.

  3. Momentum matters. Starting and stopping doesn't feel good. Sticking with something, whether a diet, exercise program, creative project or business venture is fulfilling and it's the only way you can see any fruits of both your attention and your labor. Working consistently establishes momentum and momentum carries you forward. Before you know it, you not only get a lot accomplished, but you actually finish things, establish new habits and change aspects of your life for the good.

  4. Keep your standards realistic. You can easily avoid feelings of failure by not setting the bar too high. People often quit because they are trying to do too much too fast. It makes no sense to train for a marathon if you've never even raced or run a 5K. Smaller goals with baby steps will give you an immediate sense of accomplishment, making it less likely you'll give up or quit. Focusing on smaller milestones when attempting to reach a larger goal will also help build your confidence along the way.

  5. Add a healthy dose of passion. Inspiration and passion are the wind beneath your sails. Nothing else will carry you forward through a bevy of obstacles and frustration. If you take on something when you don't have feelings of deep love or joy connected with it, it will be more likely to fail and nearly impossible to sustain.

  6. Get support. Going it alone is not only foolish, but it's lonely and unnecessarily challenging. We all hit walls and feel like giving up. Having at least one person cheering us on can make the difference between continuing and quitting. How many times can you recall when a good friend or colleague or family member talked you off the ledge and encouraged you to reconsider a self-destructive decision? No one gets to the finish line alone. Pep talks are worth their weight in gold.

  7. Enjoy the ride! Have fun with it and pay attention to the little miracles that happen along the way. Life responds quite well to appreciation and gratitude, so it is uplifting to your soul to pull the lens back and see that all is as it should be even when things feel stalled or frustrating. A sense of humor helps tremendously as well.

Of course, there are times when quitting or moving on is the right thing to do.  To discern when those times occur, it helps to listen to the heart--it never lies. What's important here is to not let fear or doubt interfere. Neither make good advisors.

For me, the art of patience takes daily practice, however, the benefits are slowly but surely coming in, teaching me the gifts of Divine Timing.  Conscious living is its own reward and doesn't require any additional miracles to feel a sense of appreciation for the moment. And yet, it's fun to co-create with life and dance in the mystery of our own existence, just to see what's possible.

How have YOU learned not to quit? How has impatience impacted your life?