“Don’t Worry, I’ll Just Google It”
It’s just a click away.
What is just a click away, you might ask.
The ‘answer’. The ‘solution’. The ‘fix’ to all of our problems.
It wasn’t too long ago that Google wasn’t around. Do you remember what you did when you had a question, and Google search wasn’t at your disposal? In case you can’t remember just how long ago this was, it was 1998 (you can read Google’s history here.)
In the 18 years since then, Google has evolved into this software giant that has arguably redefined modern software technology and the Internet in a way that is unparalleled. The growth and evolution of Google has ultimately shaped the way we live, work, do business, teach, and even process our thoughts. It’s present in our homes, our schools, and our offices all over the world – for better or for worse.
I will not doubt or question Google’s ability to reach the masses and to share content, ideas, news, etc., all across the globe.
However, I will make the argument that a large percentage of people, crave and desire the ability to have immediate feedback – to get things NOW as a result of the Google phenomenon – as I’ll call it.
So, what are we left with?
We are left with a society of people who have a dependency to be connected. A sense of urgency has been created that has us itching to respond to a text, even when we are driving (and it’s against the law). The moment our phones ‘ping’ we check our emails. Every 5 minutes we find ourselves liking status updates, favoriting tweets, and sharing articles. There is a FOMO (fear of missing out) if we aren’t getting things in real time.
Even in the face adversity.
“Yes, even when shit hits the fan, and our life gets really hard. We spill our emotions on social media, we Google search the diagnosis our doctor gave us, and we forget what it means to critically think through something for ourselves before telling the world what’s going on. Instead, we seek out other outlets in the hope that they will provide the answer(s).”
And, all of a sudden, we have lost sight of the vision we set out to achieve. Our desire is to just get through the damn thing as quickly as possible. Relationships are forgotten. And, we lose any bit of patience that was already hanging by a thread. Consequently, we find ourselves stressed, frantic, and even worried.
Patience is Important
In the same way that vision, desire, and relationships play a crucial role in the process of embracing adversity, so too does this idea called patience.
In the grand scheme of things, patience is important because it allows us to assess what’s ahead and to pay attention to what’s important.
“Why is patience important? Because it makes us pay attention.” –Paulo Coelho
Instead of being delirious of our surroundings and hurried to complete the task at hand, our thought process when displaying patience allows us to critically think and to take note of the small, yet important details.
By definition, patience means “the quality of being patient, as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like.”
The definition itself alludes to the importance of this characteristic, especially during misfortunes (adverse events).
So, when patience is removed from our ‘equation’, the result is something like this:
Vision + Desire + Relationships + _____ + Celebrations = Agitation
Agitation. It gets me a bit riled up just saying it. The shoulders become tense. Our grip becomes firmer. Possibly start sweating a little. Our heart rate increases. There is no such thing as calm and relaxed. Instead we feel rushed and hurried. So, instead of embracing the adversity that we face, we begin to despise the conditions at our doorstep. Then, we begin seeking the quick fix ‘solution’ at our fingertips – because it’s available, and it’s there (kind of like the Google phenomenon, yeah?).
Using this approach may work every once in a while, but the intent of embracing adversity is so that each subsequent adverse event becomes easier to embrace and to manage. By choosing to seek out whatever is available now, it doesn’t mean we are making things easier for later.
Implications for Losing Patience
Take a moment to think about the last time that you lost your patience.
No, really. Stop and think about it. Was it this morning on your way to the store? Yesterday when you got into an argument with a friend? Last week when you didn’t get the big job opportunity that you had hoped?
How did you react? What did you say? Did you say anything? Were you agitated at any moment?
Did the words ever cross your mind, for a single second, ‘how in the hell can I fix this now?’
If these words resonate, it’s okay. In many ways, it’s our natural defense mechanism. In the short-term, it may be a fix, but again, it’s likely not the long-term solution. If this is the case, then what are the implications, as some would say, for ‘slapping on a band-aid’?
- We become defensive – Our tempers get the best of us. We react negatively towards others which consequently results in us pushing them away. Remember the importance of relationships in embracing adversity? As a result of being defensive, we don’t care what anyone else is doing or says, or consider alternative options, because the best option is the one that we have quickly engrained into our minds.
2. We get tunnel vision – Instead of focusing on the big picture and being specific about moving from our ‘here’ to our ‘there’, we focus on one thing – the end. It’s the only thing we keep in sight, and there is no room for wiggle or compromise. We set ourselves on a bee-line for the finish without consciously thinking or processing through the path on which we decide to place ourselves.
3. We don’t achieve optimal results – If you’ve ever baked something in the oven, then you would know that there is a specific temperature to place the oven and a set period of time for which to leave your dish to cook. If the recipe calls for 30 minutes of bake time, then it’s because that is part of the process for achieving the optimal result. Crunched for time, and what do we do? Crank up the heat and say, “it will cook faster”. Sure, it will cook, but the results might not be optimal. This is the same concept when we lose our patience in the midst of adversity, and we diminish our ability to achieve an optimal outcome.
It’s not easy to have and exhibit patience. I’ll be the first to admit that patience is probably the one concept of embracing adversity that I struggle with the most. There are a lot of times when I just want to snap my fingers and be at the end. In those moments, I am depriving myself of an opportunity to learn, to grow, and to embrace the challenge ahead. It’s even something that I’ve specifically had to work on over the course of the last few weeks.
Life’s not always about the next thing – the next pay raise, the next promotion, the next degree, the next job, the next event, the next whatever.
Not even close. But, you know what?
Life is a series of experiences, and it’s our responsibility to be committed to the experience that we are in right now. Without patience in this process – in the midst of adversity – we’ll continue to find ourselves extending our hand, and reaching for the next best thing. And in that moment, I would urge you to ask yourself:
“Is what I’m reaching for what I think I want in this moment, or is it what I desire to have when this time in my life is through?”