The answer is “both”.
In some areas, you’re a master. In other areas you’re a grasshopper. And when you think about the areas of mastery you have (like walking or talking for instance) vs. the areas of current struggle, it can be quite enlightening to notice the elements and patterns of each.
One such element is patience.
Patience may be a virtue, but impatience is often a critical, even necessary pre-cursor to powerful change.
However, with all great things in life, there’s a time and place for everything.
Let’s face it, change – even when it’s desired – is usually effortful. There are many kickbacks to not changing, despite the backfires of staying the same.
So it’s usually not until we’re so frustrated, bored, or impatient, that we’re finally willing to do what’s necessary to change. In this way, impatience can be an extremely powerful place.
However, it also carries backfires, and this is where the grasshoppers and masters diverge.
Below are 7 main ways Impatience and Patience play out in the Grasshopper and Master approaches.
As you read through, can you find both in various areas of your life? Notice if there is anything more you’d add.
1. Focus mostly, if not solely, on the end-result rather than on the process and habits (eg. lose 20lbs vs. stop eating at 80% full; or run a 1/2 marathon vs. follow daily training schedule).
- Impatience says, “I’m no where near where I want to be. This sucks. I’m unhappy. Where’s the shortcut?”
2. Often quit just before achieving desired results.
- Impatience says, “It’s not working [fast enough]. I’m done.”
3. If the goal is achieved, Grasshoppers often quit once successful, but before the habits which got them there are ingrained.
- Impatience says, “I did it. Now I can stop and go back to normal. [I don’t have the desire, will or patience to keep working my habit.]”
4. Apply a rigid and inflexible process that stems from doubt, fear of failure and the need to do it “right”. This often leads to high pressure, anxiety, and all-or-nothing behaviors, with little resilience for the natural flow and waves of life.
- Impatience says, “I don’t have time to mess around. Do it right or not at all! I need a comprehensive plan and I need to stick to it perfectly so I can have the results quickly.”
5. Need to do it on their own, and therefore rob themselves of proper support, and hence long term success.
- This is often more a reflection of a flawed belief that says, “Other people don’t need help. It’s just me that struggles. If I’m capable, I should be able to do this on my own.” However, impatience may show up here as, “I don’t have time to get help… it’s just ‘easier’ to do it on my own [even though I haven’t yet].”
6. Want to be successful or masterful immediately, and don’t honor the process, practice and work it takes to get there.
- Impatience says, “I need it. I want it. Working for it is hard. This is taking too long. How can I get it now?”
7. Doesn’t like being a grasshopper, and poses as a master. A closed, expert-mindset replaces the open, and powerful beginners mindset. This greatly limits the freedom for error or mistakes, and threatens the ability to be wrong, learn, grow and get better.
- This is often more of a deeper belief that ties not-knowing, or incompetence to a sense of personal failure. However, impatience may say, “I don’t have time for the process, or I don’t have the patience for the process – I need/want it now.” (This lack of patience for the process often leads to yo-yo successes).
1. Identify the desired result, impact or end-goal desired, and then focus on the process, the systems, the structure, and the habits required to achieve it.
- Mastery and Patience say, “Work the process. Consistent steps forward is all you need to focus on. Any apparent finish lines are just milestones along the way. There is no hurry to the end – there is no end.”
2. Masters don’t quit because of lack of results. They re-strategize, re-skill, brainstorm or seek advice from their mentor, coach or someone even more masterful than they are, and keep going.
- No matter how many times you fell, you never gave up on learning to walk did you?
- Mastery and Patience say, “Plenty is happening in the seed, before the first sprout pops through the soil. Keep going. Trust. Patience, young grasshopper.”
3. When a goal is achieved, it’s a sign the process worked. And they keep working it, until it no longer produces results – and then they re-strategize and continue forward once more.
- Mastery and Patience say, “Eureka, that worked! Well done! Keep it up!”
4. Apply strategies and take action trusting that all feedback will lead to learning, and better future choices.
- Mastery and Patience say, “It’s okay to make a mistake. I’m committed to learning no matter what. If I “fail”, it’s more learning which will help me become wiser and make better next choices.”
5. Surround themselves by people doing what they want to do – but doing it better. They read, have coaches, mentors, guides, and know that no one becomes truly successful or masterful without appropriate help and support.
- Mastery and Patience say, “To become a master, learn from a master. Take your time – that’s how intellect becomes wisdom.”
6. Honor the process of mastery, which is a lifelong process. There is no end point.
- Mastery and Patience say, “Identify what you deeply want, along with the possible paths to bridge the gap. Choose one that speaks to you – find a way to make it enjoyable (or at least manageable), because you’ll be doing it for a loooong time. Dedicate yourself to the practice.”
7. Invite the beginner’s mindset. Remain curious. In not needing to be “right”, they release ego-attachment and are open to learning new things.
- Mastery and Patience say, “Aha’s often proceed “Uh oh’s”. Learning is fun! Embrace feedback. Failure isn’t a personal flaw, but a stepping stone to mastery. Be where you are, experiment and explore, try different things, and enjoy the ride!”