Take The Long View

We live in a microwave generation. A time of soundbites, twitter feeds and snapchats. If you can’t make your point in 30 seconds, then be quiet because no one is listening.

I don’t want that to be true, but I post a fair amount of content online, so I have the data to back up that conclusion. For any video content posted, there’s usually a sharp drop-off in views after the 30 second mark or so. Getting most people to focus on a video for a complete minute is a minor miracle.

The same is true of written content. The majority of us aren’t interested in reading long-form content. If the material can’t be hastily skimmed and digested, then folks just move on the next shiny object.

Our collective attention spans are shrinking, and along with that, our patience. We want what we want and we want it now! Every day there’s some new idea that supposedly improves our lives by eliminating delays. No one wants to wait for anything anymore.

I recently read about some churches that dispense drive-by sacraments. I’m not here to criticize churches. If you’re for drawing people closer to the Lord, I’m generally on your side. Maybe I’m showing my age, but for me, that’s a bridge too far.

Looking back on my life, I can’t think of one “overnight success.” I can’t fathom one thing in my life, worth having, that came quickly. It always began small. Then I had to build. Build. Build.

Do you hear that sound?

It’s the sound of an edifice being created, one brick at a time. I admit; that’s not sexy. That won’t sell in some circles. But that’s how greatness is built.

The things that matter most in life take time. They involve growth, mistakes, and forks in the road—completely different roads taken, failure, disappointments and tragedy along with the triumphs. There are no shortcuts. We just deceive ourselves and the mass media ratifies our foolishness.

My life's journey has allowed me to take a step back and to peer in two directions: backward over my life and forward. Each view offers a unique perspective. The forward view is challenging and exciting—it hasn’t happened yet. But the backward view informs the forward by gifting it with perspective.

This is a precious commodity. So when I look ahead at all I’d like to be or believe I should have accomplished already, there’s always the voice of perspective, reminding me to take a long view; to be patient in the process and to enjoy each day that I’m granted.

It’s a constant struggle, but lately I’ve been repeatedly reminded of this. So I wanted to remind you. If you’re not getting the results you want, change your perspective. Take a longer view and give yourself some time. Nothing in your journey to where you are today is wasted—only if you allow it to be.

I’m fortunate to receive several home-cooked meals in any given week. Sometimes the meals are prepared in front of me. On other occasions I play sous chef.

At other times still, the meals are prepared and placed in a slow-cooker. These meals progress for multiple hours, even overnight while I’m sleeping. The cooker knows the right temperature and timing to bring out the best in the meal.

Does it make sense to yank out the meat at the halfway point? No. That would rob you of the pleasure that comes at the end of the process.

Do you have to wait until the end to be happy? No. Slow-cooking allows you to savor the sweet aromas right up to meal-time. You can derive joy from anticipation.

The waiting is its own reward.

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