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Just Keep on Keepin' On
The key, I learned, was to be patient during the quiet times. I knew in many cases that I was doing the right thing, even if I couldn't see any results from it. In those cases, I had enough faith to just keep doing what I was doing, knowing that my hard, slow work would pay off. I kept myself from rushing ahead to much and overextending myself. I kept writing three times a week on this blog. I was inclined to try writing every day, but I know my schedule wouldn't let me do that and I was more likely to give up entirely. Instead, I had faith that slowly, writing every day, more and more people would discover the blog. And they did.
In other cases, I made the mistake of thinking I wasn't doing enough. Instead of keeping a slow and steady pace, I tried to push harder and harder, hoping to accelerate things. Instead, all I did was push them off balance, ruining all I'd worked at, or I wore myself out and didn't have the energy to carry through when things did start to happen. I've done with with exercise a lot. I get frustrated with how slowly I'm getting stronger, so I'll work out twice a day, then three times, then get sick for a week. Instead, I tried working out less, and just kept building momentum slowly until doing three workouts was natural and easy, rather than a struggle.
It's like trying to move a heavy boat. You can start off by paddling with all your might, as quickly as you can, but you will never beat its inertia. Instead, you'll break your paddle or just get too tired to paddle later on. If, instead, you take slow, methodical strokes to start, the boat will certainly pick up speed and eventually you'll be barreling down the rapids. The difference is that this time you'll have the energy to handle it.
"There was once a dream that was Rome. You could only whisper it. Anything more than a whisper and it would vanish... it was so fragile." -Marcus Aurelius, Gladiator
Exercising patience requires a lot of faith, and it is easy to make the mistake of calling laziness patience or spending a lot of methodical effort doing the wrong thing. But if you've done your research and are aware of little results and rewards along the way, you'll find that doing the right thing in small chunks sometimes gets you further than doing the right thing all at once. Sometimes our dreams need to be fed in small increments, or they collapse from the effort we expend trying to bring them to fruition.
What dreams are you building up that seem to be taking too long? Are you simply being impatient or do you need to change direction?