Sometime Waiting is the Hardest Part

An_open_face_eight_day_travel_clock_with_a_desk_watch_by_Smiths._Fellows-1432-195-4A couple of weeks back, I wrote a post called, There is no Stigma to Success. In it, I mentioned one of the benefits of being self published was that there was no ticking clock. You could take as long as you needed to find your footing as an author and gain traction.

But guess what: waiting is the hardest part. Yes, it’s true: waiting is the hardest part. Does waiting mean that you’re doing nothing? Nope. There are plenty of things that you can do while waiting. But, waiting for something you want, something that’s a goal, is hard, even when you’re doing everything you can to achieve it.

We drove to the Outer Banks for vacation recently. My kids “couldn’t wait” to get there. Only the reality is they had to wait. It’s a six hour drive from DC to the Outer Banks. Yeah, we could have “balled the jack” as they say and maybe shaved 30 or 40 minutes off our time. But, that wouldn’t have been a good example, or even particularly safe (especially in light of the Tracy Morgan crash).  As much as they “couldn’t wait,” they had to wait.

The same is true for most of the best things in life. Very rarely are we lucky enough to stumble upon the thing we desire most on the very first try. Usually, to get what we want, it requires working to achieve it and waiting while the fruits of that labor start to pay dividends.

But, the waiting is the hard part, because the world isn’t as transparent as a pond. Even though we may act like a rock, sending rippling waves throughout, we can’t always see the ripples right after we make the splash. We’re sort of like that rock, sinking slowly to the bottom of the pond, with no way to know what plopping down right where we did actually caused waves. Like the rock, we’re often left with the feeling that all that effort we put into launching and leaping and jumping into the pond did nothing but cause us to sink. We can’t see the ripple effect. Many people give up on their dream before they’ve given it a shot because they don’t think what they’re doing is working, and aren’t patient enough to wait to see the results.

The good news is that waiting is hard for everyone, so you’re no different from the rest of the population if you don’t like to wait. The key is setting small goals so you can see some success along the way, and know each little success is a stepping stone in the larger goal. It makes waiting easy because it stops the “waiting” part. Instead of waiting, you’re achieving little goals along the way.

While waiting often feels like the hardest part, it’s really not. Doing the work that gets you the results you’re waiting for is what’s hard. And if you’re focused on that work, then you won’t focus on waiting, and pretty soon, you’ll be at your goal.

Well, at least in theory. I still find it hard to wait for the things I want, sometimes. So, how are you at waiting?

About RJ Crayton

RJ Crayton is a former journalist who now writes fiction. She's reported for the Kansas City Star and Wichita Eagle, as well as the smaller publications Education Technology News and Campus Crime. She has two published novels, Life First and Second Life and blogs for Indies Unlimited and the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. For exclusive content and first looks at her new work, sign up for the newsletter at
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9 Responses to Sometime Waiting is the Hardest Part

  1. Dave D says:

    It’s always a comfort to see others in the same position as me; thanks for this post. It reminds me of an idea in Hermann Hesse’s “Siddartha,” where the main character was able to succeed because he’d learned how to do three things: think, fast, and wait.

    The feeling that time is running through my fingers, that I won’t be able to complete my work before it runs out is always in the background. Even though I know it’s irrational. The only way to counteract that is work: write, market, sell, repeat. And in those few moments in between is the waiting.

    • RJ Crayton says:

      I like that viewpoint– the waiting is just a “few moments in between.” The key is to maintain focus on the current activities not what you’re waiting for.

  2. DV Berkom says:

    Oh, my. I am not at all good at waiting.You certainly hit the nail on the head when you suggested doing other, smaller things to show progress. And I agree with Yvonne with the instant gratification stuff-although, a little sure doesn’t hurt 🙂

    • RJ Crayton says:

      Yes, the waiting is so hard. I think celebrating the small milestones helps satisfy our urge for instant gratification so we can hold out for the big prize at the end. Though, I think some people are luckier than others and have a natural disposition toward being able to wait better than others. Not saying, we can’t all learn patience, with practice, but it would be nice to have been born with a tendency toward more patience.

  3. Dale says:

    I guess it depends what I’m waiting for. I hate standing in endless lines, but on the other hand, I hate when I’m hurried into making a decision about anything (like, what do I want from a menu), then I think, Just wait, will you! LOL

    Of course some things are worth waiting for, but others, not so much.

  4. Waiting can be excruciating but instant gratification takes away from the value of the final success. we appreciate the things we have to work and wait for much more than those that come quickly and easily.

    Er “Are we there yet?” 🙂

    • RJ Crayton says:

      That’s such a great point, Yvonne. When it’s instant, it’s often hard for people to recognize just how important/difficult the achievement was to obtain. There are football players who make it to the Super Bowl their rookie year and think, this is easy or they’ll be back, and then it hits them later that it’s not easy, or they don’t get back. So, waiting makes it easier to appreciate just how good it is to achieve the goal. You can remember wanting it and not having it, and all the hard work you put in.

      And nope, not there yet. But, one day! 🙂

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