Patience, Practice & Compassion

I love learning new skills and subjects. I don’t always love, however, the learning curve. When impatience creeps in, I often have to remind myself that it takes time to process and incorporate new information. My thoughts argue back: But I want to have it all down-pat right now! I want to be deft and skillful and skip this clunky, awkward part.

You too? Well, that’s why I’m devoting my first post on this brand, spankin’ new blog to the topic of patience. Patience, practice and compassion. In future posts, I’ll get into the brass tacks of social media – time-saving tips, best practices and how tos – but ultimately any new venture, social media or otherwise, starts with the following fundamental qualities. Without them, productivity, not to mention satisfaction, goes right out the window.

COMPASSION

When we were little and learning to walk, we fell on our butts. A lot. But we didn’t scold ourselves for falling down or for not learning to walk faster. We just got back up and kept going. As adults, so often we are hard on ourselves for “not knowing” things, or for making “mistakes” or for not living up to our own unreasonable (and often arbitrary) expectations. That taskmaster approach is normal, but not so great for your mental morale. Here’s what I recommend instead: as you take on a new project, treat yourself like you would a toddling toddler and allow yourself to simply be where and how you are – right now. Compassion is a great catalyst for the learning process.

PATIENCE

One of my favorite quotes from Thomas Edison (and that man said a lot of brilliant things) is this:

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

I know for myself, I typically want to get things right the first time. I want every idea to spring from my head fully-formed and fleshed out. More and more, though, I’m discovering the beauty of the process – how each part leads to the next so that no “mistake” or “wrong turn” is in vain – even if it ends up being one of those 10,000 ways. When you have a little patience for yourself, the process of learning is a rewarding journey, often filled with unexpected discoveries you couldn’t have foreseen when you started.

PRACTICE

Simple, but true. Everything gets easier with practice. I remember five or so years ago when I got my first smart phone and was new to the whole concept of touch-screens, I couldn’t press a letter without hitting the two adjacent to it. Now I am a speedy texter and my fingers fly over the interface, knowing right where to find the letters I need. So, if you’re just getting started, say, on Twitter and feeling unsure about what to tweet, I say just jump in and do it. Do it full out and risk falling on your butt. Take a lesson from your inner-toddler. With a little compassion, patience and practice, you will be off and running in no time.

Photo credit: Enver Rahmanov