When we set out to learn a new skill it’s common to feel impatient. There’s a long road ahead and we want to enjoy the fruits of labour – but they come later.
When we become impatient, there are two common responses:
- Stop trying – fail instantly
- Work extremely hard – attempt to speed up the pace and shorten the distance.
Working hard will take you places, but working smart will take you further.
I’ve seen it countless times, young runners (learners) at the beginning of a long journey using all their might to cover as much ground as possible, they make it about ten percent of the way, feel an overwhelming burn, stop, crash and burnout.
This happened to me when I started learning Spanish, for the first three months I studied and listened to the language round the clock. I really wanted to be fluent. I was impatient. I learnt a lot of Spanish, but I couldn’t keep it up. I crashed and I didn’t study any Spanish for two months – I simply didn’t have the endurance
Covering great distance in a short period is useless if it means you can’t complete the journey.
Fortunately, I was able to reignite my flame and kept going, and I still am. However, I count myself lucky because I’ve seen many burnout, only to never return.
Patience will take you over the hills and far away; impatience will take you as far as you can see.
If you become impatient as a learner, be weary – a slow and steady pace will build real strength, which will eventually allow you to travel faster. Working intensely for long periods takes endurance, which comes only with time – no shortcuts.
Whenever faced with the choice of working hard and working smart – be smart.